Author: Jin Soong Liew

Class of 2020: Frosh Features #1

Hi! It’s been a while since we last updated our blog… But we’re back!

Following the yearly tradition, we will be posting Frosh Features on this blog for each of the 11 members in the Freeman Scholars Class of 2020. First off, get to know Bright and Yu Kai, a.k.a “The Sassiest Duo’20”!

“Bright” Sajirat Palakarn (Thailand)

/ Yu Kai Tan (Malaysia)
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What is your current project/homework/paper that takes the most of your time?

Bright: The History Papers are the ones that take most of my time. It’s mostly for researching and formulating ideas for the prompt. What makes it especially long and tiresome is that sometime, you already had the main idea and the backbone of the entire paper, then you found some contradicting evidence which disprove your entire idea. However, I must say that it is a great learning experience.

Yu Kai: Poring over an Art History paper 30 times can take up quite a bit of time. I guess the lesson of the story is: don’t take subjects you love too much. You’ll love life, and lose sleep.

Where is your favorite place to do schoolwork?

Bright: Basement of Olin, the first table from the staircase. If that is taken, I usually go to the table near the government documents stack.

Yu Kai: Off the top of my head. That counts as a place, right? Long research and reading based papers are very gratifying to write, but spontaneity is oftentimes more enthralling.

What do you think is Wesleyan’s hidden gem?

Bright: Squirrels’ homes? I wonder where they stay at night.

Yu Kai:The night sky on Foss Hill. The Milky Way arching overhead, sprinkled with stars against a deep velvet sky, makes the quiet suburban lifestyle extremely worthwhile.

What is your favorite food served on campus?

Bright: Sweet and sour chicken at Kosher station in Usdan market place.

Yu Kai: Pumpkin? Squash? Butternut? I love them. But I still can’t tell them apart.

Yu Kai Bright 1

What do you do when you miss home?

Bright: Usually just listen to some Thai music and eat some chips.

Yu Kai: Eat chilli.

What would you say to people interested in applying to the Freeman Asian Scholarship?

Bright: This scholarship has provided me with an unbelievable opportunity to learn and expand my boundary. Wesleyan University is such a great place to experience new knowledge, and you will never regret trying something new here.

Yu Kai: 1. What you think is your greatest weakness may as easily be your greatest strength. 2. Start contemplating about life early (it’s also a good excuse for sitting around unproductively). 3. Do it!

What has been your favorite experience so far at Wesleyan?

Bright: Realizing that your opinion is valued and your input in the class contribute to others’ learning is such a great feeling.

Yuki: Seeing the last light of day sifting through the fall foliage. The dancing hues of vivid crimson and wary yellows, wandering upon the lingering greys of the pavement. I am living in Lothlórien.

 

Thanks for reading!

Apple-Picking!

On a lovely and temperate fall day in late October, FASA organized an apple-picking trip at Lyman Orchards, about half an hour away from Wesleyan campus. The trip was open to the Wesleyan public and many non-FASA members came along for the ride.

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The sun was shining brightly as we reached our destination, and hills of orange hue surrounded all around, making for a stunning view with the best colors of fall.

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Blood red apples hung temptingly from the branches of the apple trees, ripe for the picking. What a treat it was to reach out, pluck an apple, and sink into the sweetness, juice dribbling down our chins!

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Here are some photos of the participants enjoying themselves:

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We returned with stomachs and bags full of apples, fresh air in our lungs, and happiness in our hearts, all blessings of Mother Nature’s rich bounty.

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Written by Justin Liew ‘18

Victor Goh ’16 on WesZone

*This article is the first in a series of casual chats with FASA seniors who are involved with a personal project, or juniors who are studying abroad. Today, we visit Victor Goh ’16 from Singapore to find out more about his project WesZone, your go-to karaoke service provider at Wesleyan!

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Conceptions: How It All Started

“It all began back in Singapore when I wanted to have some good old-fashioned fun with my friends. I got the idea to use iTunes mobile, turning my mobile phone into a remote to play songs and project music, and we had a lot of fun goofing around and singing amateur karaoke.

“During my freshman winter break, I stayed over on campus at 200 Church and had the time to experiment with new things… usually we just sang along to songs without mics or anything, but after a while I decided to buy some mics, a mixer, and a projector, to improve the experience and make it more enjoyable. One of my first events was a 200 Church ResLife event and it was great singing and interacting with the community.

“Next thing I knew, I was also using the equipment for FASA events, and we had so much fun with it! People were singing along to all sorts of songs in different languages, in solos, duets, and groups, etc… the kind of interactions it encouraged was a very positive thing for me and I realized I was onto something good here.

“Someone pointed out to me that since people really liked it, why not expand it to the whole Wesleyan campus as a business, and charge people for the services and equipment rental? Actually, I’ve had that thought for a while. I’ve been interested in entrepreneurship in the past, creating some apps—though nothing worked out, I found the whole experience really fun and it gave me an adventurous sense of entrepreneurship.

“My first step was to get clients, and I chose Usdan, because they are involved in organizing student activities. I figured it’d be easier to start with a departmental or institutional setting because they know how to attract students. So I made a pitch to Michelle from Usdan, lugging along all of my equipment and showing her how the entire process works— from selecting songs on the iPhone, making a queue that can be transferred wirelessly to the laptop, and playing it on the projector. She thought it was really cool, and I sealed the deal that day! That was my very first paying customer.”

Carving out a Niche

“The next challenge was reaching out to certain populations at Wes. I think the American conception of karaoke is usually singing solo in a public setting like a pub or something… but the way we do it back home and in Asia is different— we do it in a private room with some close friends.  It’s much more informal and casual, you know? You don’t have to be good at singing or anything like that—no one’s judging you and you’re just having fun.

“This is the kind of social space that I’m looking to create – an intimate social environment where you can have fun with a bunch of friends, and even meet some new people through other mutual friends. Personally, I prefer a more private setting where you can talk about things and life without loud music blasting. I think once people give it a try they might like it and do it more frequently in the future, especially with the affordable rates we offer to student groups or individual students – a mere $15/ hour, which is very cheap given that the cost is spread out amongst a group.”

Expansion and Recruitment

“WesZone has given me valuable business experience trying to grow nothing into something—and also gave me an opportunity to get involved with certain communities that I would not otherwise have access to.

“What we would like to do next is train underclassmen to take over this organization, because most of our current members are graduating next year. It can be difficult to get people to commit to WesZone, with the plethora of things offered at a campus like Wes… but I think we are quite unique in what we can offer, especially for those with an interest in entrepreneurship.

“Besides technical technological skills, they learn invaluable business practices such as accounting, marketing, and sales… most importantly, we are an independent organization that is not accountable to the school or WSA. We are self-sustainable and we do not have budget constraints from the Student Budget Committee, so strategic decisions can be made independently and there is greater leeway to generate revenue and grow as a business (since conception, the year-to-year revenue growth has been over 70%). We’re not just restricted to karaoke services—if someone wishes to diversify, we are open to investing in other initiatives.

“Currently, Usdan and Reslife are our biggest clients, and it’s great because they have their own resources for marketing the karaoke events. I’ve managed to build a fairly good relationship with an Area Coordinator (Emily) and she has been helping me a lot by sending emails to the RAs and dorms about the services we provide. Recently, we’ve even begun hosting events at Vines on Church and perhaps will expand to other bars/board games cafes in the area, though we are limited by our manpower capacity.”

Looking Forward

“I want to use WesZone as a vehicle to propel even more campus initiatives that cater to the greater Wes community. The revenue generated from WesZone can be used as capital to fund other independent initiatives, and students who are involved can learn hands-on entrepreneurship experience, instead of being limited to inspirational and informative entrepreneurship talks. Eventually, we would ideally have an umbrella of initiatives, with one leading to the funding of another. This raises awareness and possibilities where students can identify spaces that cater to the demands of the community and provide lasting value.”

Last Words

“Don’t restrict what you do on campus to what is available—if there is something you really want to pursue, try your utmost to make that a reality! Look for resources to achieve what you want to do, take charge of what you’re interested in, and who knows, you could come up with something totally new and original.”

*For your Karaoke needs, WesZone can be reached at contact@theweszone.com or via FB at www.facebook.com/weskaraoke. Rates are $15/h for student organizations and private house events. If you’d like to be involved, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Written by Justin Liew ‘18