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The Fake

Name: Yang Liu
Nickname: Hobbes
Intended Major (if applicable): Asian American Studies
School/Year: GS ‘11

What are your interests/hobbies outside of school and work?
I like to play a lot of video games, chess, and read science fiction. I also want to go a Star Trek convention while in New York City.

What clubs/activities were you involved in during high school (list organizations & positions if applicable):
Founder, Asian Students Club (ASC)
Chair, Political Union of Color (PUC)
Director, Model United Nations (MUN)

Which other clubs do you plan to be involved with at Columbia:
Asian American Society of Engineers
Chinese Students Club
Club Bangla
Club Zamana
Hong Kong Students and Scholars Society
Japan Society
Korean Students Association
Liga Filipina
Organization of Pakistani Students
Singapore Students Club
Sounds of China
Taiwanese American Students Association
Thai Students Association
Vietnamese Students Association

Black Students Organization
Chicano Caucus
United Students of Color Council

How would you identify yourself?
I am afraid that as a freshman, I don’t have much a concept for identity. From my experiences in high school, it has always been a tough issue to discuss and we often don’t reach a conclusion that is satisfactory no matter how many times we come back to this topic. One source of constant confusion is the underlying meaning between identity and its interplay with other ambiguous ideas so I think for me to answer this question I really have to take a few
approaches and see which one works.

One way I can identify myself is based on citizenship. Since I am not currently a citizen of the United States, I cannot legally call myself an American, but Chinese, as my passport would indicate. I would imagine that once I am naturalized, my legal distinction would then revert to American, as I would have to forfeit my Chinese passport. Yet, when this transition takes place, I am still the same person with the same identity. So why am I suddenly American instead of Chinese? It seems that identity runs deeper than citizenship.

Another way I can identify myself is by the color of my skin. I am neither black nor white, but been told that I am yellow. Yet when I look at look at my arm, it does not remind me of a canary or the sun. I tend to think it resembles a mixture of black and white. At some point this color was associated with a continent and given the Asian. When I converse with new Columbia students who share the same color of skin, I noticed we all call ourselves Asian, even though
some have never been to the eastern hemisphere. It seems like identity runs deeper than skin color.

Another approach is to take experiences into account. My parents were born in China but I came to the United States when I was quite young and received most of my education in the US. But I also lived in Canada before. So does that make me a Chinese Canadian American? If I buy an American flag in Chinatown while on vacation in Toronto, how do I think about that experience? American? Chinese? Canadian? What if I was born to Jewish parents, been raised in Hong Kong and now work in Spain while eating nothing but Indian food? It seems like identity runs deeper than experiences.

The more approaches I try to define identity, the farther it gets away from me. It is a term that has different meanings at different times of different reasons for different people. So while I’d love to answer your question, I really need to know what you mean by identity.

List three adjectives that best describe you:
1) Short
2) Light
3) Ugly

If you had no work, exams, or schoolwork, what would you do on a Saturday night in NYC (be honest; we won’t tell the popos)?
Since I am a freshman and still getting accustomed to what there is to do on a Saturday night in NYC, you’ll have to excuse me for ignorant and ask again in a couple of weeks after I get a better
idea of what I like in college.

You just won the lottery; what are you going to do now?
That would depend on how much the jackpot was. Assuming this is a pretty badass jackpot that I just hit, I’d probably pay the taxes first, invest some in creating an enterprise while stashing the rest away in index funds until I get a chance to speak to a respectable portfolio manager. Oh yeah and buy a yacht, that sounds pretty pimp.

If you could date anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
Since I am just a freshman and meeting a lot of new people with different experiences and values from what I was used to, I don’t think I can make a claim at who I would like to date because it will probably change in the next couple of weeks. Ask me again later.

What do you think of free food (this may or may not be a trick question)?
Free food can be either beneficial or deleterious depending on how it is used. If there is an event with the right purpose, free food is a great way to attractive people who would normally be on the borderline. Free food gives them an extra incentive to come but ideally, they would come for the worthwhile content of the event rather than the free food.

What part of the Asian American Alliance interests you (social, political, community service)? Why?
I think social, political, and community service are very complex ideas that need some clarification. As students, everything we do with other people is inherently social, political, and communal at the same time. Politics for example, enwraps everything we do, whether it’d be club politics, campus politics, or community politics. Yet it’s hard to imagine these scenarios without social connotations, or an impact on the community at large. I would need to know how Asian American Alliance defines these words before I can comment further.

Any computer/web design/graphic design/advertising/artistic skills:
I’m ok with computers.

When will you be free from 10AM to 10PM on Friday, September 14th for a 10 minute interview with us?
Probably not but I don’t think you guys want to interview me anyway.


  1. skyxie said...

    Darn, I can't believe the secretary gave away the true identity of the fake! Grrrr, the former treasurer was even going to go to her/his interview too...  


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