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The Quindecim - page 2

The Quindecim has 115 articles published.

How Did I Lose My Bed Sheet? A Model UN Story


In Model UN, we had a toga party for our first simulation. I had a dark blue polyester bedsheet. Luckily, it was my extra sheet, so I still have one. Our first simulation was that of the Roman era when the king had just been overthrown so at that point, we had to deal with forming a government. I was the slaver which, in my opinion, was the best role to have because I knew a lot more about the topic whereas I knew little to nothing about the other characters. 

 In the simulation, we had a slave rebellion. Now, that I think back to it, I am not sure what ended up happening in that regard. We wound up electing our chief executive as a military dictator for a rule of one year. I voiced that that would be too short. At the end, she was ruler for 40 years and it became a hereditary rule meaning that her children would become the next rulers. 

 Another interesting aspect was that we had two pretend crucifications at the end because some of the members were political enemies. We might have had three had one of them not left early for another meeting. I overheard someone saying, “that is what the gavel is actually for.”  

 Our second simulation was a simulation of the Trump 2020 reelection campaign. In that case, I was the Health Care Advisor. I found that I didn’t speak up as much because I knew little about that area. What made this simulation so much fun was that other delegates were using accents to play into character plus we had a graph up front to measure our progress. We wound up promising that we would declare war on Iran which dropped our ratings. However, eventually we regained our poll numbers and were successful in our goal of reelection but this came after we had a crisis update where we had a breach in the US-Mexico border wall. Our solution, as part of our final resolution, was to give guns to everyone who was, I believe, in a 50-mile radius of the border. If we had more time, a few of us planned on dissolving Congress and making him eternal dictator. I recognize that this can be a serious topic in real life, but we were having fun with the topic in our mock simulationWhen the SI tutor walked in a few minutes before the end of the session, she was laughing when she saw what was going on. 

 I started my Model UN experience in my junior year of high school. I joined my school club which led to two years going to the John Hopkins Model UN conference also known as JHUMUNC, two weeks of the Best Delegate summer Model UN program at Georgetown University, and a semester long course on Model UN. Throughout, all of these experiences I realized that crisis committees were my favorite as you could do secret behind-the-scenes actions. You also got to see the consequences of what happened with the directives and had to deal with it. Another aspect I enjoyed was the midnight crisis which I thought I would hate at first, but I loved! The midnight crisis entails getting woken up late at night and having to go down to do a special committee session.

My first crisis committee, in my second year of JHUMUNC, was a joint crisis committee on India-Pakistan in 1999. Our crisis was that of the Indian side when our newly-elected fictional prime minister was assassinated during a cricket match. The Pakistanis had a few people assassinated as well. We wound up going to war with Pakistan that night. Despite it being rather late, others were being quite descriptive about the weapons being used. I wonder if war would have broken out had it not been the midnight crisis. Nevertheless, war makes the crisis more fun even if it isn’t the most logical step. 

 I have found that high school and college Model UN aren’t that different. Goucher Model UN is going to four conferences this year. They are Georgetown, Norfolk, Harvard, and Gettysburg. Crisis here at Goucher is different than my previous experiences because we do not have back room crisis notes. I fully recognize that this is impossible as we wouldn’t have enough people. I’m hoping that I will be lucky enough to make it into a crisis committee at one of the conferences. To be honest, it would be fun to be behind a delegate assassination. Depending on the simulation, it is likely that an assassination will occur in most crisis committees. 

 As I can still remember my JHUMUNC experience from last year, it is proof that it is a memorable experience. One thing I find ironic is that I tend to remember character names better than actual names. If I do remember their name, I will always think of them as that name and then their previous character or country names for a long time too come. I have no idea if that is the case for other participants.       

 Model UN is great for both those with or without previous experience. I would recommend giving it a try so that you don’t miss out on the fun. 

By: Meredith Schulhof 

Goucher Fit


Before I got to Goucher, I was really excited that I would be able to take part in these wonderful exercise classes. So far, I have been to yoga, Zumba with Moe, and kickboxing.  

I find myself constantly returning to kickboxing because there is something about it that makes it my favorite class. First, I like that each session varies depending on the amount of people who attend. We usually start with light exercises such as jogging and sprinting. Some days, we will pair up or group up. If there are pairs of two, one will be punching the pads the other person is holding them. If we have groups of three, one person will be punching and/or kicking the bag, one will be using weights or other related activities, and one will do some running and other exercises. Second, although I have been the only female student in past exercise classes, I like that these tend to be more female dominated. It gives me the sense that we are as capable as others of doing what we can. Third, I appreciate that it is a do what you can, no judgement atmosphere because I’ve found myself being slower or not being able to do the same intensity as others. In the end, kickboxing has offered me the best workouts I have ever done, making me want to come back for more.  

 Another potential factor that I would enjoy kickboxing was that I had never taken a kickboxing class before I arrived at Goucher, whereas I had many previous yoga and Zumba experiences. For Zumba on Mondays, I wasn’t able to go back after the demo week because of my first-year experience, but hopefully will be able to attend once that’s over. 

For yoga, I preferred the stretch-based yoga to the other forms as it fit my style more partially because it didn’t require me to hold any poses too long. 

GoucherFit offers classes every day of the week, including weekends, except for Fridays. The classes offered are Abs with Adele, Athletics Yoga, GopherShred, GoucherPUMP, HIT, Kickboxing, Pilates, Spiritual Yoga, Yoga, Yoga Express, Zumba and Zumba with Moe. Look on the IMLeagues website or app for a full schedule of these wonderful classes. Don’t miss out! Come try it out and find your best fit!

By Meredith Schulhof

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is Quentin Tarantino’s Late-career Masterpiece


How do you solve a problem like Tarantino?

Quentin Tarantino burst onto the scene almost thirty years ago with Reservoir Dogs, a crime movie so influential – so fucking good – that it single-handedly revolutionized the way indie films were made and looked at. It genuinely stands alongside Duel and Blood Simple in terms of being a debut feature (well, I say “debut”; technically, he’d made a film beforehand, the reels of which burnt up in a fire) that was pretty close to perfect. He followed that up with Pulp Fiction, and again with Jackie Brown, two films as close to flawless as they come.

Then something happened, and Tarantino…regressed, I guess is the right word. Look, I still love Kill Bill; for my money, it’s the last capital G-Great movie he’s made. But that love is tinged with some pretty serious reservation, since Kill Bill pioneered some of Tarantino’s worst tendencies as a director, quirks that have haunted him ever since: an utter lack of discipline, ostentatious hyper-violence that doesn’t even pretend to take place in reality, and obscene running lengths. Some of those I can live with – it is pretty fun to watch people explode in the most over-the-top way imaginable – but it’s his late-career aversion to editing that I really take issue with.

Kill Bill is the last film Tarantino made that felt focused in its excesses, if that makes sense. The bizarre digressions into Western iconography and anime-land worked for that story. The same cannot be said of Death Proof, which did its level best to make Tarantino-speak seem unbearably boring. Inglourious Basterds worked fine enough on a chapter-to-chapter basis, but completely failed to tie itself together in its closing moments the way Pulp Fiction had done. Django Unchained managed to scuttle every ounce of goodwill it had built up over its two-hour running time near the beginning of its last act, with one of the most annoying, movie-ruining director cameos ever put to film (complete with Austrailian accent!) And The Hateful Eight is at least 45 minutes too long; and that’s in its SHORTEST form.

On the basis of his first few films alone, Quentin Tarantino deserves his status as pop-culture icon. But as a result of his fame, he’s completely abandoned any of the restraint and focus that made his earlier work so special. His latest films have been too long, too unfocused, and too in need of some serious editing to really compare.

So I had been tepid in my hype for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. While I’ve never outright hated one of his films (even Death Proof, which came close, at least had the good sense to give Zoë Bell a leading role), I was still conscious of the fact that I was about to see a two hour and forty minute movie. That’s only a few minutes shorter than Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight, two movies I thought would never fucking end.

More than that, when I first heard that Tarantino was making a “Manson movie”, my heart sank. Movies based around the horrific crimes of Charles Manson and his “family” are already turning into one of the worst subgenres of film ever to exist; while Bad Times at the El Royale was pretty good, and smart about how it incorporated a Manson-like murderer, it must be said that abysmal dreck like The Haunting of Sharon Tate and Wolves at the Door have been the Manson movie norm.

This isn’t the first time Tarantino’s tackled tricky subjects, obviously. I’ve long admired how deftly he’s walked the tightrope of going juuuust far enough, without ever falling into outright exploitation. But Manson is different from the Nazis, or even slavery. He’s more specific, if that makes any sense. This seemed like a bad idea from the jump, and the originally intended release date – meant to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Tate–LaBianca murders – only made things worse.

So it gives me great pleasure to say that, for my money, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is Quentin Tarantino’s late-day masterpiece. It’s a film that feels focused. It feels like it has an honest-to-goodness point. It feels, for all the world, like an anti-late-day Tarantino movie. For the first time since Kill Bill, the overall experience grew on me the more I sat with it, rather than buckling under its ungainly, aussie-accented seams.

To be clear; this is a long movie, one perfectly content with taking its time. Described as a “hangout movie” not unlike Pulp Fiction or Jackie Brown, the film mainly focuses on the declining star of Rick Dalton, a famous TV actor whose stab at moviestardom has fizzled out, and his loyal stuntman Cliff Booth. The two of them are very emblematic of the “Old Hollywood” that Tarantino so lovingly remembers; some of the most joyous passages of the film are the fully immersive recreations of Rick’s old Cowboy show, and the painstaking processes that define new auditions.

This has been described as a mid-life crisis movie, which is understandable. It is at times nostalgic to a fault, frequently getting lost in its own period trappings (when Cliff goes to feed his dog, we see every single label in his cabinet). But I think it’s smarter than mere hokey sentimentality. For as idyllic as Tinseltown may seem, we’re keenly aware at all times that it’s a paradise built on a shaky foundation.

That’s where Sharon Tate comes in. Now, I’ve seen reports from other people who felt that she was unnecessary to the film; worse, that she was “boring,” or “one dimensional”. Not so; she is the very heart and soul of this movie. To me, the very best scene in the film concerns Sharon Tate taking an afternoon for herself, and going to see The Wrecking Crew, which she stars in. She slips in unannounced (after sweetly introducing herself to the teller), and spends the next hour or so drinking in the audience’s reaction; an audience that doesn’t know she’s there.

Sharon Tate becomes real again through this movie. We’re reminded that this was a living, breathing person, with hopes and dreams of the future, who loved her friends and her husband (the shadow of Roman Polanski hangs over this movie, as a nonspecific – but very deliberate – reminder of the ugliness beneath the sheen). The same can’t be said of the Manson “family”, who are remembered as they deserve to be; cartoon loonies, high on their own false sense of self-importance and enlightenment.

There are many ways to read what Tarantino’s trying to say with this movie. There’s a lot of subtext going on, some of it clear – there’s a highly effective sequence where Rick’s fake audition for a Western TV show begins to mirror Cliff’s real-life escapade at the Manson compound – and some of it less so. There’s a lot that can be read, for instance, in the scene where Cliff refuses a blowjob from an underage girl, especially in our post-Weinstein world.

For myself, though, I’m just glad we finally have a Tarantino film that invites thought, seems to actually contain layers, and doesn’t vastly overstay its welcome. It’s been a while, old friend. Thanks for ditching the Aussie accent.


How Vietnamese Became More Universal/ Tiếng việt đã trở nên phổ cập hơn như thế nào?

Photo Source:

English Version:

Throughout the history of Vietnam, the Vietnamese language has been through many transformations and adaptations from different cultures. Nations like China and France’s past presence in Vietnam all played their roles in shaping the language. Those cultures helped to add many features to the original Vietnamese and made it evolve over time, and from that process, it became such a unique language. As a Vietnamese speaker, I think the language has also become more universal and more colloquial to the Vietnamese people.

Vietnamese is the official language of almost 100 million people living in Vietnam, connected to more than 160 spoken languages (Alves 104), Vietnamese is a branch of the Austroasiatic language family, which is mostly found in Southeast Asia. The language is diverse across the span of the S-shaped country with different local accents and dialects. Vietnamese has a cultural and transformative history. In a way, the modern language that we use nowadays is the product of different cultures, but it is still very much Vietnamese.

The history of the Vietnamese language started a long time ago and it has gone through many transformations to become a modern language. Since the beginning of the history of Vietnam, right after the foundation of the first government, the vulnerably young nation became an intriguing target for China and its expansion scheme. The Chinese’s effort to colonize Vietnam casted an imposing presence over the country; this started the two thousand years of Chinese domination (Alves 109). Vietnamese land became a battleground throughout this long era. During this period, all documents were written in chữ Nho (classical Chinese script), while Vietnamese was the spoken language. Since the two forms are not the same language, people from lower classes did not feel the need to know the written language; and even if they did, they could not afford the education, whereas the higher classes could afford it. Moreover, the written language was considered more intricate and more exclusive to the higher classes, while at the time, the living standard was low, and poverty was very common among the people. The implication of only wealthy people affording education shows the inefficiency of having different written and spoken languages at the same time.

Education was still a luxury for the Vietnamese during the time when the Chinese government enforced an assimilation policy (chính sách đồng hoá) on Vietnamese people. At this time, China put in an extra effort to try to convert the Vietnamese to Chinese both culturally and biologically by letting Chinese into Vietnam. They wanted to turn Vietnam into a part of China (Hays). Although the lack of education was an issue, in order to keep the traditions and culture alive and to resist the Chinese influence, Vietnamese people added characters to the Chinese characters and used Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary (Vietnamese words that have Chinese origin) to create a different script called chữ Nôm. This was to prevent Chinese domination and the Chinese understanding of Vietnamese. This script was strongly enforced by Quang Trung, an emperor of the Lê dynasty. He enhanced the importance of chữ Nôm by using the script officially for royal documents and national examinations. He viewed the script as a symbol of the independence of Vietnam as a separate nation, free from Chinese domination (Huu).

One of the most influential figures that popularized chữ Nôm to the people was Nguyễn Du, a great poet from the 18th century. His epic 3,254-verse poem called The Tale of Kieu (Truyện Kiều) is considered the most significant work of the Vietnamese literature and one of the most famous works using chữ Nôm script. Despite the popularity of chữ Nôm, the two scripts coexisted at the same time until the early 20st century. Only people who knew how to read and write, usually teachers, scholars, or ones that had to associate with the Royals, were placed higher in the scale of societal standards. Over the course of history, there were other figures other than Nguyễn Du that made an impact on the Vietnamese written language.

The influencers were not only from Vietnam but also were from out of the country. In the 17th century, some of the first Frenchmen came to Vietnam wanting to spread evangelism. One of them was Alexandre de Rhodes, a Catholic preacher, who wrote the first Vietnamese Catechism. He learned Vietnamese in order to serve his evangelical work. Later, he introduced the Latin alphabet as a replacement for the two scripts chữ Nho and chữ Nôm, but still expressed the sounds based on the spoken language (Pham). Thus, through the dramatic transformation of the written language, he developed the contemporary Vietnamese language. Personally, I think this change of using the Latin alphabet made the language less complicated to write, and therefore, much more efficient.

At the beginning of the 18th century, the French started expanding in Southeast Asia and Vietnam became a colonized country by the mid-century. The French language came into the picture. It did not alter the existing Vietnamese, but the frequency of French usage around Vietnamese people did make a change. A good amount of French words was added into the informal spoken language (Love 5). Gradually, they became borrowed words and ended up a part of the Vietnamese vocabulary. A lot of people do not even know that some of the most common Vietnamese words are from French words. For example, the word (butter) is from the word beurre, ga (station) is from gare, or vang (wine) is from vin. Before becoming a French learner, I did not know all of that. Therefore, I would say the more I learn French the more Vietnamese makes sense to me.

After French colonization, from the second half of the 20th century, the Vietnamese language kept evolving. In the 21st century, you can clearly see the differences between how the young generations of Vietnamese people speak the language and how the generations from previous centuries spoke it. The young generations are using a more modernized, and universalized version of Vietnamese with more casual words, phrases and slangs, even. There is a huge difference if you compared the contemporary version of Vietnamese to the intricate and scholarly version from the past. It is not as advanced and scholarly like it used to be. English speakers could understand what I mean by comparing the English that they are using right now to the English that the great Shakespeare used.

The Vietnamese language has a great number of speakers from all over the world, especially in Cambodia, the U.S., Australia, and Czech Republic. Therefore, there are various reasons why a lot of non-native speakers would like to learn the language. For example, they may have a relative who is a native speaker, or they may want to connect better to the Vietnamese community around them. However, most people find it hard to learn Vietnamese because they think the pronunciation is difficult. Those who are from western nations struggle especially because they do not have some sounds that Vietnamese does. In my experience, I have never heard any foreigner who could pronounce Vietnamese words perfectly, and I do think Vietnamese has unique sounds and tones that only native speakers can make. However, I do not think imperfections in pronunciation should be discouraging or be the only barrier that prevents foreigners from learning Vietnamese. It might not be the most practical language to know, nor should people feel required to be fluent in it. On the other hand, I think every language is worth a try. As a language learner, I would say learning a language is a very effective way to expand your mind. It also helps you have a different perspective to look at the world, based on the culture of the language you are speaking. This is especially true for a language that has a rich background like Vietnamese. Knowing it is the best way for anyone to get closer to the Vietnamese culture and people. The world is more connected than it has ever been before, so the resources that could help people learn Vietnamese are highly accessible. This is also the case for Vietnamese cultural products such as music, movies, and documentaries.

The colorful culture of the Vietnamese language was not achieved overnight. It took a lot of changes for it to become so unique. Personally, I think those changes were for a better future of this language. It is a good thing that Vietnamese has become not just more accessible, but also more colloquial for the people.

Vietnamese Translation:

7th Paragraph:

Vào đầu thế kỉ thứ 18, thực dân Pháp bắt đầu xâm chiếm các nước ở khu vực Đông Nam Á, Việt Nam đã sớm trở thành thuộc địa của họ từ trước khi nửa thế kỉ đã trôi qua. Ngôn ngữ Pháp đã bắt đầu có ảnh hưởng lên tiếng Việt, nó không hoàn toàn thay đổi ngôn ngữ Việt vốn có, nhưng cường độ tiếng Pháp được sử dụng trong khoảng thời gian đó cũng đã gây nên những tác động nhất định. Một lượng nhiều những từ ngữ Pháp đã được sử dụng vào trong văn nói Việt. Qua thời gian, những từ mượn này đã chính thức trở thành một phần của ngôn ngữ Việt. Rất nhiều người Việt không biết rằng những từ phổ biến và thông dụng nhất trong tiếng Việt lại là những từ mượn được từ tiếng Pháp, ví dụ, chữ “bơ” (bơ sữa) có nguồn gốc từ chữ beurre, chữ “ga” (nhà ga) là từ chữ gare mà ra, hoặc rượu vang có nguồn gốc từ chữ vin. Bản thân tôi trước khi học tiếng Pháp cũng không biết điều này. Vậy nên, sau khi bắt đầu học tiếng Pháp, tôi lại có thêm một góc nhìn khác biệt hơn về tiếng mẹ đẻ của mình.

Final Two Paragraphs:

Số lượng người nói tiếng Việt trên khắp năm châu là rất nhiều, đặc biệt là ở Campuchia, Hoa Kỳ, Úc và Cộng hoà Séc. Vì vậy, có rất nhiều người nước ngoài mong muốn được học tiếng Việt vì nhiều nguyên nhân khác nhau: có thể vì họ có họ hàng là người Việt, hoặc có thể họ muốn được kết nối tốt hơn với cộng đồng người Việt sống xung quanh họ. Tuy nhiên, đa số người ngoại quốc cảm thấy tiếng Việt là một ngôn ngữ rất khó để học vì cách phát âm phức tạp của nó. Đặc biệt là đối với những người từ các nước phương Tây, đa số ngôn ngữ của họ có hệ thống phát âm hoàn toàn khác biệt, không giống như của tiếng Việt. Chưa một người ngoại quốc nào có thể phát âm tiếng Việt chuẩn theo quan sát của tôi, và tôi cũng công nhận tiếng Việt có những âm sắc và những cách phát âm đặc biệt mà chỉ có người bản xứ có thể nói được. Mặc dù vậy, tôi không nghĩ những khuyết điểm trong cách phát âm của người ngoại quốc nên trở thành một rào cản khiến họ nản lòng khi học tiếng Việt. Nó có thể không phải là một ngôn ngữ có tính ứng dụng cao hay ai cũng nên thành thạo. Mặt khác, tôi nghĩ tất cả các ngôn ngữ đều đáng được thử qua ít nhất một lần. Là một người học ngoại ngữ, tôi nghĩ việc học bất cứ ngôn ngữ nào đều có thể giúp người học mở mang đầu óc. Nó giúp họ có một góc nhìn khác về thế giới và xã hội, dựa vào văn hoá tập quán của đất nước mà họ đang học tiếng. Đặc biệt, đối với một ngôn ngữ có bề dày văn hoá và lịch sử như tiếng Việt, hiểu biết được nó là cách tốt nhất để giúp bất cứ ai đến gần hơn với văn hoá và con người Việt Nam. Ngày nay, thế giới đã trở nên hiện đại hơn bao giờ hết, vì vậy những tài liệu tham khảo giúp mọi người học tiếng Việt cũng đã trở nên dễ dàng để tiếp cận hơn. Tương tự, những văn hoá phẩm về Việt Nam như âm nhạc, phim hoặc các nguồn tham khảo khác cũng vậy.

Sự phong phú trong văn hoá của tiếng Việt không trở nên thành hình chỉ qua một đêm. Rất nhiều thay đổi và ảnh hưởng đã góp phần cho tiếng Việt trở thành một ngôn ngữ độc đáo và đặc sắc như bây giờ. Theo quan điểm của tôi, những thay đổi đó đã giúp phát triển tiếng Việt theo những chiều hướng tốt hơn.


Works Cited:

Alves, Mark. “Linguistic Research on the Origins of the Vietnamese Language: An Overview.” Journal of Vietnamese Studies, vol. 1, no. 1-2, 2006, pp. 104–130. JSTOR,

Hays, Jeffrey. “EARLY CHINESE RULE OF VIETNAM (111 B.C. TO A.D. 938).” Facts and Details,

Huu, Vinh. “Vóc Lại u Nu Giống Trái Tràm.” Vua Quang Trung Với Việc Dùng Chữ Nôm,

Love, Susan. “French and Tây Bồi in Vietnam: A study of language policy, practice and perceptions.” Adelaide Research & Scholarship, Aug. 2000,

Pham, Khoi. “Street Cred: Alexandre De Rhodes and the Birth of Chữ Quốc Ngữ.”Saigoneer,

Letter to the Editor


In December of 2015, I wrote an opinion article for the Quindecim entitled “In the wake of the Paris attacks, Islam must be held accountable.” In the aftermath of the tragedy, I leaned into the narrative that these terrorist attacks were fundamentally linked with religious doctrine. I was willfully ignorant by citing false information and statistics cherry-picked in order to support my argument. In doing so, I helped spread a hateful, racist ideology that has caused pain and destruction to so many people. This ideology can be summed up as a Western superiority complex. It reasons that our (white) ideas are the best and the others (people of color) must assimilate. This distinction between “us” and “them” is a critical component to the plague of white nationalism. Looking back on the words I wrote, I’m filled with deep shame and profound regret. I wish that instead of reading alt-right thinkpieces, I had listened to the words of Muslim students and faculty in our community. I want to offer my most sincere apologies to anyone who read that article or was affected by it in any way. I promise to use my privilege and voice to help support people whose faiths and cultural backgrounds are persecuted in our white supremacist society.


By Cameron Yudelson

Dying to Revive, Journey Just Starts. 走过涅槃重生,人生才始启程。

Zhang performs her first solo recital, “Dying to Revive”, accompanied by pianist Andrew Stuart. Picture Credit: Julian Fernandez

English Version:

On the night of April 3, 2019, with endless applause and cheers, I closed my first solo recital ever in my life with great success. “Dying to Revive.” It was an unforgettable night.

This is a recital about “death and life.” I died over and over again in the songs, and I sang my own eulogy. After my dance in this dark hell, I started a journey of revival. As I finished singing the last lyrics from Night of the Sixth Magnitude Star, “After being reborn, I’ll shine on tomorrow,” I finally reached new life. Just as shown on the poster, the first row of black and white photos means “death,” and in the second row there’s a movement from holding nothing to receiving life.

After the concert, when I saw my friends all waiting so long in line to hug me and send me good wishes, I experienced a happiness and sense of achievement that I’d never felt before. I appreciate my voice teacher Jennifer Blades, piano accompanist Andrew Stewart, and my friend Elysia Hempel for helping me make this recital possible, and I’m also so thankful for all of my friends who came to support me. The time you spend on roses is what makes roses so special.

I also want to appreciate all of my hard work behind the stage. I couldn’t believe I learned three new pieces in this half semester, sang them all, and gave a great performance. I think I deserve that night and all of the wishes and applause. But I know there’s still a long way to go.

One of my friends told me, “You are shining when chasing your dream step by step.”

Being prepared and not nervous is the key to everything, and I felt this so strongly on that night. It felt so good for everything to be under control and turn out better than expected. After the performance, a friend said that I have magic, that my songs have a serene power which draws people into their aura. I heard that one of my friends cried halfway through the concert, and many other people told me that my songs made them want to cry at some point. Another friend said that he sank into real darkness, but saw a shimmering light. I never knew that my voice could be that powerful. Aside from all of my surprise, I was very glad that the audience could feel my emotions from my songs.

As a performer, honestly I could not feel the aura and enjoy myself during the performance because I need to think about how to deal with the next place in which I often make mistakes and how to pronounce the lyrics better and control my breath. But when I watched the video the day after, surprisingly, I felt like I was watching another person’s performance, and I became a member of the audience, and I was moved by that singer’s songs. That was the best feeling that from the audience’s perspective; I could feel what I wanted to show, and I felt so moved.

From my conversations with my audience members afterward, surprisingly, all of them said that their favorite song was the Chinese song, Da Yu (Big Fish). Something I wondered about was that most of them didn’t understand the lyrics, but still loved it. Then I asked my professor and she said, “Because this language and this song is part of you.” Suddenly, a conversation that I had with a musician came to my mind. I asked him which was more important: melody or lyrics. I used to think melody was more important, but he said that it’s lyrics. Although the audience may not understand the lyrics, as performers, the goal is to show what we’ve understood. Melody is a tool to help present the lyrics. When I first heard his words, I was surprised but I didn’t understand much. Finally I proved what he said exactly in my own performance.

Zhang and Hempel perform their duet, accompanied by pianist Andrew Stuart, during Zang’s recital. Picture Credit: Julian Fernandez

I die over and over again in the songs, but in real life, my journey has just started.

Coincidently, last Friday was the Tomb Sweeping Festival in China. Showing “death and life” in this concert gave me more thoughts about my own life. Because I’m still alive, I can do the things I love, and make everything possible.

Soon, I’ll start to volunteer at a hospice. At first, I was kind of afraid of this work, but gradually I realized that since I’m so into “life” and “death”, by doing this special job, I might grow and have a deeper understanding of life and death, though the job will be heavy.

Recently, I read a quote from people who work in this field: “You matter because you are you. You matter to the last moment of your life, and we will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but to live until you die.” Till the last breath, life is always an important existence. And this job gives people strength to live. I recalled a sentence, “We should not spend too much time mourning the death. Instead, we should spend more strength to confront our lives. As long as we exist, Death has not arrived; when Death arrives, we are not existing anymore.” As long as there’s still breath, it is the biggest affront to death. Although we are all going to compromise in the end.

I remember that after my grandfather passed away, in front of the crematory’s fire door. My mother said to me that no matter how hard life is and how much you feel that you can’t continue, you can come to see the real farewell. Then you will feel that all the things you thought you cannot endure are not a big deal anymore. It’s everyone’s last station, a little box.

A few days ago I read a sentence: “People die three times in their lives. The first time is biological death; the second time is one’s funeral, which is the sociological death; the third time is being forgotten by the last person who remembered them, and that is the real death.” Thinking this way, my grandfather has still not left me, and people who I’m going to serve will also not disappear, because of being remembered by their loved ones.

After the journey from death to life, I’m just starting on my road.



Chinese Version:

Poster for Zhang’s recital created by herself.




演唱会后,看着大家排着队来拥抱我时,感受到了前所未有的欣喜。感恩我的老师Jennifer Blades,钢琴家Andrew Stewart和我的朋友Elysia Hempel的帮助让这场演出变成可能,也感谢所有到场支持的朋友们。正是你们花在玫瑰身上的时间,让玫瑰如此珍贵。





在观众们的反馈中发现,所有的人都千篇一律最喜欢我的中文歌《大鱼》。出乎意料般,因为他们都并不理解歌词,却依旧喜欢这首歌。之后问老师,她说,“Because this language and this song is part of you.”想起之前和一位音乐家的谈话。我问他,曲调和歌词,哪一个更重要。我曾经认为曲调更加重要,但他的回答是歌词更重要。即使听众无法理解歌词,但若表演者能够通过自己的理解和表演来将歌词的情感传达给听众,这就是目标;而曲调是一种辅助表达歌词的方法。当时对他的这番言论挺新奇,这次终于在自己的歌里得到印证。




最近读到一段关于这个职业的从业者的自白。“You matter because you are you. You matter to the last moment of your life, and we will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but to live until you die.  ” 即使在生命的最后一刻,也是重要的存在。而这份职业就是给予人们活着的勇气。想起一段话,“不应用太多的时间去凭吊死神,而应用更多的勇气去直面人生。因为我们存在时死神不会降临,等到死神光临时,我们又不复存在了。” 只要一息尚存,就是对死亡最大的蔑视,即使我们终将走向妥协.


前几天读过一段话,“人的一生有三次死亡:第一次是生物学死亡, 第二次是葬礼,被宣告社会性死亡,第三次便是被最后一个记得其存在的人遗忘,那时才是真正的死亡”。这样想着,爷爷也并没有离我远去;我即将服务的人们也因为被思念着,而不会消逝。



Phone Free Day Reflection

Phone free day founder Reilly Musgrave, ‘20, unknowingly shakes hands with disgraced shirt-winner Cameron Stewart. Photo Credit: Dylan Margolis, ’19.

This year’s celebration of Phone Free Day had the largest turnout in all of Goucher’s history! A documented thirty-nine people wore stickers pledging their support that proclaimed them “phoneless” – a whopping 2.5% of students! While not everyone sported a sticker, it was clear that everyone on campus could feel a certain phoneless aura in the air that day.

No one felt that phoneless aura more so than the select few that vowed not to use their phone for the entire day. Only the bravest and most tactful dared embark on this journey from dawn to dusk without the warm embrace of a phone, and this measure did not go unrewarded; those few were allowed to put their name into a drawing to win a hand-embroidered shirt made by none other than Goucher’s Eliza Owen-Smith, ‘20.

During what seemed like a normal rambunctious Mary Fisher dinner, a hush fell over the crowd of attendees in anticipation of the announcement of the shirt-winner’s name. I had no idea that the next moments would go down in infamy. The hat chose Cameron Stewart, ‘19. The crowd erupted, as they thought they should. It was “the best day of his life,” according to Stewart, but others didn’t feel that same sense of elation, especially Sinaia Campora, ‘21 (also a registered entrant in the contest).

Campora, who herself went completely phone free for the entire day, alleged that Stewart had in fact used his cell phone on April 2nd. These allegations were not denied by Stewart, who insisted that he “used his phone less,” pointing to the sticker.

Phone Free Day staff members do not condone loopholes of any kind, so judicial action must be taken. While the shirt cannot be revoked and the picture cannot be un-taken, the title can be moved. So here, forever in print, Sinaia is named the phone freest of 2019. May next year’s celebration be a more just one.



April 22nd, 2019.

Minor grammatical edits were made.


Photo credit:

Bacon, toast, biscuits and sausage.

They don’t thrill me like you do.


Soggy surface jiggles on my fork’s tip.

You may moan and groan about the shriveled yolk

But I attack my prey of yellow sponge with my drooling mouth.


Brunch never been so fine.


Squishy, squashy, moosh and whoosh

My buds taste your lukewarm spirit.

The scent of sulfur eagers my ears and beckons my toes


Brunch never been so fine.


The puddle you leave behind my plate

That soggies my skillets and ruptures my bowels.

You are the treat of the week.


Brunch never been so fine.


Pondering down the line of red pots:

I’ll have some bacon, toast, biscuits, sausage and…

I want me some scrambled eggs.


Brunch never been so fine.




Photo credit:

I glance up the stairs

Are you busy today?

I need me a plate of your sweet embrace


I await YOU.


I creep in line for your irresistible spice

Will you give me a chance?

I grab me a dish for you to fill


I await YOU.


I think of the possibilities

If you were mine and I was yours

I know you can be mine.


I await YOU.


I worry.

Is the line to get you too long?


I panic.

Will you ever emerge from your dome of steel?


I fret.

Will you not come back to me?


I wish time would move faster,

For I want you in my arms right now.


I wish you would finish your sizzling,

For my mouth waters with thoughts of devouring you.


Give me your onions and peppers, green and red.

Give me your spinach, your mushrooms, your heart and soul.


I await YOU.


I’ll be the old if you’ll be the bay

I’ll hold your hand if you lead the way

I’ll be the stir if you’ll be the fry


I await YOU.



Chinese Version: You move forward like the seasons, I move forward like Greyson Chance

Zhang (left) and Chance (right).






I can see something pure and clean inside of him, no matter how time changes.


He knows what is right.



他的一首歌,写的是他妈妈曾经对他讲,希望若有一天她离开了,他会是一个good man. 他小时候在公众场合骂脏话,被妈妈严厉批评,说那是boy才做的事,而她,只想培养a man.

他说,成长中最棒的一件事,是developing the perspective of how life works. It’s constantly up and down.

他说,f–- ur Instagram. 这个社会和世界只通过数据的多少来评判人的成功与否,完全是不合理的。自己的价值不该由这些数值来定义。别沉浸在屏幕里那个虚幻的世界;好好爱自己,爱朋友,家人,好好享受每一天的阳光,因为生命真的太短暂。





他今天没有唱任何一首早期的歌,应该是认为那都是属于他的过去了,也希望自己能以全新的面目获得认可。就像他自己唱的一样,I’m not looking back, to rewrite my f–-ing past. 既然他都大步向前,为何我还要纠结于过去呢?




You move forward like the seasons,

I move forward like Greyson Chance.

Our story goes on.



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