Thursday, November 08, 2007

In Hong Kong

It's been a while that I haven't made post here. Life in the past 2 months was so busy. Assignments and projects just kept coming and I didn't had enough time to see to the flash I worked on. But the semester will end in 3 weeks and there will be some free time after that.

I think the universities in Hong Kong should give students more time to allocate. It is not good for us to spend all day in dealing with the assignments and miss some opportunities of developing in different areas. Actually I heard that some of the universities in HK have planned to extend their 3-year undergraduate courses to 4-year in 2012. I think this is a good news for the freshman in high schools.

The children in Hong Kong are taken good care of but Hong Kong has its own problems. One is, eople here have high pressure from different aspects and the suicide rate, whch is 17.5/100,0000 (2003), is much higher than the average rate of the world(14.5 in 2000) discovered by World Health Organization.

As I expected, I think I really miss the time I had and the nice people I met in the US. I remember them as if the vivid scenes are just in front of me.

--by Paul

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Arrived HK

I arrived Hong Kong on Sept. 1st and settled down in my new room.
During the 15 days I vsited Washington DC, NYC, Orlando and LA. The trip was really amazing but it also made me exhausted. After that I flew back to Shanghai to be with my family and stayed for 5 days.
The time I had in the US was so valuable to me and it will have influence on my future life. I will miss all the nice people I met there.
Now I am looking forward to the new semester in my university.
I will discuss with Dan on the flash presentation and continue on it.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Last day

This is the last day of my internship in Tutor/Mentor Connection. Tomorrow I will fly to Washington to begin a series of trips around the United States.

I have really been having good times here. Yesterday, the colleagues held a very nice lunch for me. It did surprised me that they gave me many meaningful things as gifts. I don't even have had such a good lunch for birthday in the past years! They are very nice persons and I am really happy being with them.

The flash is not 100% completed but it is time to let you have a look at what I have been working on.

click here to view it

There is still a lot of work to do on it as Dan has more ideas to make it better, so I will keep on working on it after the vacation. In addition, I have added another flash presentation of the "No General Goes to War w/o a Map" to the Tutor/Mentor Exchange Institute.

At last, Thank you all for being with me and helping me with everything. I don't want to make it sentimental because this is not an end, and the connections will go on.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Last week

It is August 7th and this is the last week I am in Chicago. It is just like what Michael said - Time flies.

I have been working on the flash animation since last post. I feel like that I am learning a new skill along with working on it and this is very encouraging to me. I always like leaning new things. Let me show you the current progress.

The little figure attached to the track moves along the track and it is just a loop. The 4 colors indicate the 4 diferent phases in the service learning process which is boosted by Tutor/Mentor connection. What I am looking forward to do is to add some interactive things like buttons to make it more user-friendly and easy to understand.

BTW, the idea of "track" to demonstrate the concept was brought up by Dan. He said the idea came up to him when he watched kids playing video games. This is really interesting that we can extract some creative ideas from daily life to help what we are working on.

If anyone of you happen to have some good idea on it, please tell me!

This is not the last post I make here. I will let you know more if I finish the flash later in this week, and I will keep updating after I leave Chicago.

- Paul WEI

Friday, July 27, 2007

No business no gain (3)

On thursday, I went to the golf tournament at highland park country club with the colleagues and some kids. I don't have a younger sister/brother or else like a nephew in Shanghai or Hong Kong, so I had little experience communicating with kids, but this time I spent most of the day with the kids around the field with the golf carts. I had a lot of fun with the kids and they were so energetic.

After the golf game, a silent auction was held along with the dinner. This was the first time I heard of silent auction and I was just there. Dan and other colleagues introduced a lot about the program and everything during the talks with the business men and the speech they delivered. The kids had also given good speeches one by one and Marcus, who was the youngest among them, was a little bit shy, but I think he is a good boy and with cabrini connections he will be a good man in the future.

Last week was really a fulfilled week. I met many nice people from different areas and shared many ideas with them.

What I am working on now is a flash animation simulating the concept of concept of the role of Tutor/Mentor Connection. It is really challenging as I need to find a good way to explain the concept to new comers and this is actually the first time I learn to use Adobe Flash to create animation. I used to ask my friends to handle the flash editing tasks needed to decorate my websites, so this is a good opportunity for me to learn to make flash animations myself. The picture below shows the rough looking of the current progress.

Hope that I can finally make it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

No business no gain (2)

Second day, we went to navy pier after a series of activities at Cabrini Connections. The kids got on ferris wheel but when they got off, some of the kids said it was just OK. The Shanghai Circus was giving performance those days, and I heard some Chinese music play around ferris wheel, so I thought they might be doing rehearsal in the closed theatre beside ferris wheel. It was really good to find something familiar to me in a place oceans away from my hometown.

After that, we walked to Museum of Contemporary Art and took a 20-minute appreciation of the art works there. The art works there were very creative and some of them were even cynical but meaningful.

I like to think about different questions. Education is a hot topic in my mind, because I will be a parent when it just comes to me. Based on my being-a-child memory, I am always trying to figur out questions like what could make a child grow in a positive way, what are important to gain a good upbringing etc.

I think the appreciation of art plays a very important role in influencing a kid's character and talent. The image he or she see will always remain in his or her brain and keep a potential effect. It is really good to offer the kids more opportunities to get in touch with art.

In Mainland China, there is a more and more common trend that parents and schools have given too high priority to acadamic score. Some of them care nothing but the scores their kids get from acadamic examinations and have ignored many other important or even critical qualities which the kids are supposed to have. Every year, the news report that a few students in some of the top universities around the country commit suicide. A few years ago, a student in Sichuan University(a very famous one in China) killed his four roommates with a hammer in campus and this made all people in China shocked and force us to think about what's going on in our education system.

Another problem in our education system is about poverty. Many kids in some remote areas get inadequet education resources. Although our law claims a 9-year compulsory education for every kid, some families are just too poor to afford it. The government does have spent a lot effort and resources to help the kids in poverty, but many other problems, like corruption etc., seem to have a greater resistance. The philanthropy in China is also still in period of developing. It has been slowly filtering into people's minds but it still needs a long way to go.

It seems that I have been a bit "critical" and put many problems on table to show, but it is just the reality people have to face. There is no possibility to solve it until we are brave enough to face it.

I am glad to see that some of my friends have gone to Cambodia to help the kids there against the diseases and poverty and they have introduced many experiences they had on their blogs. This is how internet can help us learn where the people need help and what they need and this is internatinal.

Later I will introduce some more on this.


Monday, July 23, 2007

No business no gain (1)

It has been a while since last update. Last week I made a great 3-day direct interact with the kids by participating the activities led by the students and teachers from Edgewood College. The 3 days made last week really exhausting but meaningful.

First day, we had a long trip in downtown. We were divided into groups with the kids and worked on some tasks like finding out the average number of french fries in MC Donald or the names of 3 churches we came to. When I was a little boy, my school didn't even have such kind of activities. The funniest activities organized by my school were like just a simple trip to a zoo or a museum.

We also went to the Tribune Freedom Museum. I was a bit confused when I came to the name of the museum. The concept of freedom is a very abstract idea in my country. Common people never talk about it, and when the right of freedom is violated, people don't even notice it. It just seems like the word "freedom" mostly appear in peoms or fictions. I was wondering how a museum would exhibit a intangible concept like freedom, but after I went through the museum, I did gain a new understanding of how Americans care about freedom. According to the previous experience and the materials I read, I think the government of my country has not done a satisfying job on appreciating the right of freedom on some affairs. There may be some difficulties due to objective conditions, but something could have been better if they thought more about it.

This is just a part of what I went through last week. I will post more later.

PS. I have added the blog of Nicole, who is a graduate from Northwestern University and also a new intern in Cabrini Connection, to the links section on the right side, and as Dan mentioned in his comment on Michael's post, another tutor/mentor blog created by John Jenkins is added as well.

Monday, July 09, 2007


Hello, I am Paul WEI, the new intern in TM/C from Hong Kong baptist university, and since this post - the first post I make here - I have changed the blog's name from "Michael's blog" to "Interns from HK - created by Michael". Dan, Michael, and I hope to make this blog a place connecting the alumni with TM/C.

It has been 2 weeks since I came to TM/C and I do have been learning a lot here just like Michael did. I also spent nearly a week on understanding what TM/C is contributing to and how it works, and I still keep gaining more understanding through the jobs i work on and discussions i have with Dan. He has many solid ideas on what TM/C is doing. I really appreciate it that he is willing to share these valueble ideas with me very often.

BTW, here is the link of the concept map i worked on last week:
Homework Help Links
Hope that it can help people, especially the kids, find what they need in the sea of information.

I will keep on updating here.