Happy Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Years may have passed but you can still create your own wonderful hot dumplings to eat on a cold day. You can buy frozen ones at the store but what’s the fun in that?

For Dumplings:

  • Wonton wrappers
  • 1 ¾ Ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 5 cups finely shredded Nappa cabbage

For soy vinegar dipping sauce:

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 whole scallion, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 hot green chili, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons water
  1. Combine all the ingredients for soy vinegar dipping sauce in a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pork, ginger, garlic, scallion, soy sauce, sesame oil, egg and cabbage. Stir until well mixed.
  3. Place 1 teaspoon of pork filling on each wonton skin. Moisten the edges of the wonton skin and fold the edges to form a triangle shape to seal it.
  4. Boil a pot of water and dump your dumplings into boiling water until the dumpling starts to float. Let it boil for 1-2 more minutes then take them out and they’re ready!

A Short Meditation on the Social Obligations of Valentine’s Day

A Short Meditation on the Social Obligations of Valentine’s Day


Valentine’s Day generates more than 25 billion dollars of revenue in North America alone. To give some context to that amount, both Twitter and Snapchat combined currently have a market value of only 23 billion. It’s a massive holiday for businesses, where corporations compete for the money of couples and, more recently, target and prey on the increased loneliness of single individuals. To that end, Valentine’s Day has morphed, from its traditional roots, into a Hallmark Holiday designed to commercialize and commoditize love.

However, underlying all that blatant consumerism is an innate social obligation, aptly demonstrated in the xkcd comic above. Even if we are aware that Valentine’s Day is a corporate construct, there is still immense social pressure to conform to the traditions and expectations of the holiday, which manifest themselves in different ways. Couples are expected to spend, often lavishly, on their significant other, and, in turn, expect to be spent on, or otherwise feel rebuffed or undervalued. Meanwhile, single individuals expect to feel, at best, indifferent, or at worst, miserable, on the days preceding and including Feb. 14th; they attempt to resolve that misery by either searching for a partner in desperation, or by secluding themselves from society.

Granted, this is not always true. In its purest form, I believe Valentines Day aims to celebrate love and romance, which it should be commended for. It can force us to take stock of our relationships and our personal emotions, and can positively affect us, if we choose to be open with ourselves, and in the case of couples, with our partners. However, the corporate act of commoditizing love has shifted the day from reflection and celebration, to expectation and obligation, where the value of relationships is now gauged on the amount of money spent, and the self worth of an individual is eroded, because they are not materially valued. And so, I encourage you all to take a step back, and reflect what you think your obligations and expectations are this holiday. I think you will find, deep down, regardless of however imperfect life may be, that you are loved.


The 12 Chinese Zodiacs

Most of us would know about the twelve horoscopes; one’s horoscope depends on your birth date and the horoscopes rotate on a monthly basis. Similarly, the Chinese culture has twelve zodiacs (known as Sheng Xiao), and one’s zodiac depends on the year in which one is born. You might have heard that this year is the year of the monkey. What’s the deal about that?

The Chinese zodiacs are based on a twelve-year cycle, where each year relates to one of the animal signs: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, pig. At the end of twelve years, the cycle restarts. The Chinese12839110_220632161000_2 New Year is based on the lunar calendar, which means that the year begins not on January 1, but sometime between January and February. Each zodiac sign has a fixed element, one of metal, wood, water, fire, or earth. Each year is also associated with a specific element. The combination of the year’s element and the zodiac sign’s fixed element has been said to influence an individual’s personality or even fortune.

There are different stories behind how the zodiac animals came about, with the most popular and mythical one being The Great Race. An ancient folk story describes the origin of the Chinese zodiacs to be a race ordered by the Jade Emperor. The Emperor promised that the years on the calendar would be named after each animal in the order that they arrive the destination. How did the rat end up being first? It was said that the rat, knowing its own ability, jumped on the ox’s back to cross the river. When they were very close to the finish point, the rat then jumped ahead and became the first to arrive.

The Chinese zodiacs are very significant symbols in the Chinese culture. Not only because of the beliefs that they influence an individual’s life, but also because they relate to multiple elements of Chinese astrology and philosophy. It gets way more complicated than the facts and story above!

Want to know what your Chinese zodiac is? Check out this link: http://www.chinesezodiac.com/calculator.php




WHERE MY SINGLE PEOPLE AT!?!?! No? Just me? Alright, well as we all know, the highly dreaded/anticipated holiday of Valentine’s Day is speedily approaching. For those of you who are dreading spending this day without a significant other, I am here to give you survival tips. So, without further ado I give you –


Tip #1 – Do something fun! Don’t wallow in misery, tweeting #foreveralone jokes, get out of your bedroom, find an extra fun Sunday activity and immerse yourself in it.

Tip #2 – Plan a day with one of your fellow single friends (statistically, you’ve gotta have one). I, for example, have a full day planned with my friend and it will be full of food, movies, fun, and cuddles with her puppy. Yay!

Tip #3 – Make Valentines for your friends. I’m not talking about writing some sort of strange card confessing your undying, romantic love for your friends, I mean that love is for everyone so share it with as many people as you can! Friendship love is just as important as romantic love, so make someone’s day and tell them they’re special.

Tip #4 – Have a self-care day! Go for a run, make something delicious, read a book, get some work done, clean your room, drink tea, hug yourself – do whatever you need to do to feel good!

Tip #5 – Ignore it. If Valentine’s day isn’t your thing (single or not), don’t worry about it! You don’t have to bow to societal norms if you don’t want to. For some this is a holiday to celebrate the people you love. For some this is a made up corporate holiday scam that just wants to take your money. So you do you and don’t feel any pressure to treat February 14 differently from any other Sunday.

That’s all I’ve got for you today friends. I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day no matter what your thoughts on the occasion are. You are beautiful, you are worthy of love, and you deserve a good day. So have one 🙂



New Years Resolution: Read More

Hoping to read more for the New Year but not sure where to start? The below is a list of the top 5 international best sellers and a “sneak peak” into what you can expect!

Best Seller – Fiction

  1. Rogue lawyer by John Grisham
    1. The attorney Sebastian Rudd is a “lone gunman” who hates injustice and the system and defends unpopular clients
  2. Cross Justice by James PattersonPicture1
    1. Detective Alex Cross returns to Starksville, N.C., his hometown, for the first time in 35 years, to help a cousin who has been accused of murder
  3. All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
    1. The lives of a blind French girl and a gadget-obsessed German boy before an during World War II
  4. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
    1. A psychological thriller set in the environs of London
  5. See Me by Nicholas Sparks
    1. A couple in love are threatened by secretes from the past

Best Seller – Non-Fiction

  1. Killing Reagan by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
    1. The host of “The O’Reilly Factor” recounts the events surrounding the attempted assassination of President Reagan in 1981
  2. Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates by Brian Kilmeade and Don YaegerPicture1.pngd
    1. The war against the Barbary pirates in 1801
  3. Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton
    1. Photographs and interviews from the creater of the blog and the book “Humans of New York”
  4. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi CoatesA meditation on race in America as well as a personal story by Atlantic’s national correspondent
  5. What If? By Randall Munroe
    1. Scientific (but often humorous) answers to hypothetical questions, based in part on the author’s website, xkcd.com

Source: The New York Times International Best Sellers

– Yun


What are you up to this Reading Break?

Reading break is a great way for you to explore Greater Vancouver, UBC, or to relax and spend your break at home. Here is a list of fun things you could do around UBC & Vancouver to enjoy your break:

12631182_10207302708819570_2070290438_o1. Explore the Museum of Anthropology! Did you know that your student card grants you FREE access to this museum? Admire different art pieces and learn about different cultures. Current exhibition: (In)visible: The Spiritual World of Taiwan through Contemporary Art.

Bring a friend & explore this wonderful treasure on campus! For further information about the art pieces and exhibits, check this out: http://moa.ubc.ca/

Hours of operation:

Sunday 10AM-5PM

Monday Closed

Tuesday 10AM-9PM

Wednesday 10AM-5PM

Thursday 10AM-5PM

Friday 10AM-5PM

Saturday 10AM-5PM

  1. Always want to have brunch on the weekend, but find it too busy? Try weekday brunch! Some of my favourite places include Sophie’s Cosmic Café (West 4th & Arbutus St Vancouver), Café Medina (780 Richards St, Downtown Vancouver) and Ask for Luigi (305 Alexander St Vancouver)!
  1. 12650326_10207302709179579_201772021_nRun or bike the Vancouver Seawall! Did you know that Vancouver has the world’s largest uninterrupted waterfront path? The wall extends from the Vancouver Convention Centre to Spanish Banks Park. Perfect for a sunny day during the break! For a map of the area, check out: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/seawall.aspx
  1. Found that you still haven’t explored lots of places on campus yet? Take a campus tour! Campus tours run several times in a week, and provide you with a quick overview of some of the main buildings and areas on campus. This is a great way to explore campus outside of your Faculty’s area at UBC! Register at: https://account.you.ubc.ca/ubc/events/campusVisitRequest.do
  1. Try at drop-in sport at the Student Rec Centre! Did you know that there are free drop-in sport12656121_10207302709939598_696912142_os daily at the SRC? From badminton to futsal, there are a wide array of sports that you can try out. Check out the schedule at: http://www.recreation.ubc.ca/drop-in

    – Anna



Many of us probably started off the term with “This term I am going to stay on top of my school work.” Now, we’re three and half weeks into the term; is it starting to look like things are not going the right way? There are definitely many factors that affect the situation, including motivation, organization, and time management, so you might want to ask yourself the big ol’ why. If organization happens to be your answer, then here are some tips to help!

Google Calendar (free)

I used to be skeptical about using anything but Google Search and wondered if someone is spying on me every minute. Nevertheless, I gave it a sScreen Shot 2016-01-27 at 19.44.18hot and now I don’t seem to be able to organize my time without Google Cal. You can create multiple calendars and share them with others. Most importantly, you are able to sync the calendars with your laptop app (like iCal) or your phone. I hardly ever use the web-based calendar, instead I add/edit events offline on my phone and laptop. I personally use a paper agenda as well, but nothing beats the convenience of pulling out your phone (which is something you will always have with you) and immediately knowing your schedule for the day. Tip: you can download your class schedule from the SSC in a format that can automatically be imported to Google Cal!

Paper Agenda

I personally find it very useful to keep a paper agenda, especially for the monthly calendar. The purpose kind of conflicts with keeping a Google Cal, but I use my paper agenda more for big, full-day or even longer events. Because Google Cal has my class schedule and other meetings, the monthly view is extremely cluttered. So having a paper agenda with only major events and commitments in the monthly calendar helps me better schedule those. This is also where I keep track of my assignments.

Wunderlist (free app)

This is a to-do list app that allows you to create sub-lists and share lists with other people. One of the coolest features of this app is that you can delegate tasks. For example, if you are the leader of a project and have a whole list of to-dos that is shared with your team, you can specify who is assigned to what task on the list in this app! You can also sync this app among all your devices.

Reading List (DIY)

I don’t remember when was the last time I kept up with my readings, but that’s what I wanted to do this term and actually followed through with it. I created a list of weekly readings based on my course syllabus. If my professor intends to cover chapter 3 next week, then I made sure to list chapter 3 as a reading for this week. This has helped me stay not on top, but ahead, of my courses. This list is on the wall right above my desk, so I have to look at it everyday!

Weekly Study Schedule (DIY)

I happen to have a lot of weekly tasks and assignments this term. In order to remember to do them and stay on top of my readings, I came up with a study schedule based on my class time and other commitments. I have a list of tasks like read for course ABC, class prep for course DEF, for each day of the week. It seems like the work is never ending, but it is completely manageable. The key is to be realistic based on your schedule, which means if you have 3-4 hours of class, you want to schedule around 2-3 hours of work so that you still have time for other things or to chill!




Is it your New Year resolution to eat healthier but you still find yourself eating out a lot? Get inspired by visiting your local grocery stores for some beautiful in-season fruits and vegetables!

What’s in season in December?
Apples, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Garlic, Pears, Rosemary, Sage, Turnips, Winter Squash.

What’s in season in January?
Apples, Cabbage, Pears, Rosemary, Sage, Turnips, Winter Squash.

What’s in season in February?
Apples, Cabbage, Pears, Rosemary, Sage, Turnips.

Price: $$
Location: Westbrook Mall
How to get there: Walk (~25min.) or Bus 25/33/49/41/43 to Westbrook Mall/Birney Ave. (~5min.)
Hours: 7am-11pm everyday
Pros: Convenient location and good range of products!

Rainbow heart of fruits and vegetables

Rainbow heart of fruits and vegetables

<<Safeway Point Grey>>
Price: $$
Location: Sasamat and University Blvd.How to get there: Bus 99 to Sasamat St. (~15min.)
Hours: 7am- midnight everyday
Pro: Convenient location and there are other smaller grocery stores near by like Kin’s Farm Market!

<<Whole Foods>>
Price: $$$
Location: W4th and Vine St.
How to get there: Bus 84 or 44 to Vine St. (~25min.)
Hours: 8am-10pm
Pro: You can find a wider selection of local, organic produce. Whole Foods has an amazing bakery and a juice bar!

<<Jason’s No-Frills>>
Price: $
Location: On Alma and W4th Ave.
How to get there: Bus 84 (~15min.) or 4 (~20min.) to Alma St.
Hours: 8am-11pm everyday
Pro: CHEAP What can be better than saving money?

<<Persia Foods>>
Price: $ CHEAP!
Location: W. Broadway and McDonald St.
How to get there: Bus 99 or 14 to McDonald St. (~20min)
Hours: 9am-9pm everyday
Pros: My personal favorite-get all your fruits and vegetables for a REALLY good price! Safeway is also near by.

– Ju Young Park


Given the stress, the pain, the endless cycles of coffee-fueled rage and despair, it is often hard to forget how far you have come. You are within sight of not only the end of this dastardly period of exams, but also so very close to a well-deserved break. Whether this is your first term at university, or if you are only at UBC for a brief (albeit exciting) semester, you have succeeded so far. And there are very few reasons as to why these last few weeks should not see you succeed again. I know it is easy to say that self-care is important in these despairing times – grab a tea, or a hot chocolate, take a break, sleep well, eat well, or go to one of those free Yoga sessions (fine, they’re by donation, but close enough, right?). To actually get up from your desk and do any of those things is an entirely different matter. In those dark moments (this time of the year, literally dark), where everything does seem to come tumbling down, please do remember those around you. Remember, your friends, roommates, classmates, and even RAs (I mean, hey, we are here for a reason after all) – often all one needs is a solid rant, and I assure you, that there is always someone who is willing to listen. You do not have to struggle alone. Seek support, and, when you can, offer it to others.


Remember that our lovely campus has a huge amount of resources available to you, should you feel a little overwhelmed:


  • The Centre for Student Involvement and Careers does not only help you with your job search, but offers workshops on how to handle panic and stress, in addition to being a pretty cool place to hang out and study
  • The Wellness Centre can provide you with resources regarding anything from healthy eating during the exam period, to how to use your anxiety in a constructive way.
  • The Learning Commons offers support in how to approach your studies in the most effective way – if you just don’t know where to start, go and check it out.


Also, take a look at http://students.ubc.ca/livewell/topics/stress for all those little strategies you can use yourself to beat back that finals-stress.


And remember, the holidays are just around the corner!
– Constantin


To procrastinate, or not to procrastinate – that is the question

Finals season is upon us and everyone, including myself, is busying preparing for the final exam or project that is worth a large portion of our grades. It is a stressful and tiring time of the year for everyone.

While we all know that the final is extremely important, we tend to procrastinate a bit; this may be studying the last minute to cram everything you can or staying up until 5 am in the morning finishing an essay you just started last night. And worst of all, we tend to regret our decision to procrastinate. I mean if we decided to start earlier we probably could have gotten an A instead of a B, if we decided to start earlier, we probably would have enough sleep and feel prepared for our exams the next day. The effects of procrastination hits us hard, it is stressful to cram and finish projects at the last minute and usually our work is not the best it could have been if we chose not to procrastinate. So DON’T DO IT!

With so many distractions like phones and computers, procrastination is easier than ever. How many times did you tell yourself that you will only go on the internet for 30 minutes before realizing you spent over 3 hours on the internet instead? Feel free to take half an hour to an hour breaks between studying to go on computers or have a snack but be sure to set an alarm for yourself so you don’t regret it afterwards.

Another really good way to not procrastinate is to make a plan. Make a plan of how much studying and work you need to finish each day before you can relax and have some fun. This way you will be able to have some down time and be able to be on top of studying and projects.

These two methods always work really well for me but you may have something else that works well for you and that’s completely fine. However do heed my final words: DON’T PROCRASTINATE, you will regret it!!!

Best of luck to everyone on your exams!