Friday, November 14, 2003

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

The Daily Gazette
Swarthmore College
Friday, November 14, 2003
Volume 8, Number 50

Write to us!
Photo of the day:
Today’s issue:


1) Acclaimed Chinese writer Yu Hua visits Swarthmore

2) Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal criticizes Bush
administration on abortion, women’s issues

3) College Corner: Interview with a Sharples bartender

4) Weekend roundup

5) World news roundup

6) Campus events

7) Clarification


1) Upcoming contests


Today: Sunny and windy. High of 47.
Last year I could go weeks at a time without seeing a car doing anything other
than moving through Parrish circle.

Tonight: Clear. Low around 36.
This year, the real world is just outside my window.

Saturday: Sun. High in the low 50s.
Living quasi-off-campus, one at times forgets that most college students live
in a completely isolated world.

Sunday: Mixed sun and clouds. High in the mid 50s.
And that’s why I say thank you, this afternoon, to the Rugby team, for reminding
me that I am still a college student.


Lunch: Crunchy cod, macaroni and cheese, El’s black beans, cut green beans,
stewed tomatoes, specialty salad bar, bar cookies

Dinner: Sweet and sour chicken, basmati rice, pasta saute, stuffed peppers,
broccoli, cut corn, taco bar, baker’s choice


1) Acclaimed Chinese writer Yu Hua visits Swarthmore

by Pei Pei Liu
Managing Editor

Yu Hua, the first Chinese author ever to win the prestigious James Joyce Foundation
Award, held a reading and Q&A session in the McCabe coffee bar lounge yesterday

Professor Haili Kong of the Chinese Department introduced the author, explaining
that Yu Hua worked for five years as a dentist in the southern Chinese town
of Hangzhou after graduating from high school in 1977. He quit his job in 1982,
however, and moved to Beijing to pursue writing, where he enrolled in a special
graduate program at the Beijing Normal University. Though he began with short
stories, Yu Hua eventually moved onto novels; his first novel, “To Live,”
was recently named one of the ten most influential books of the decade in China
and was adapted into an Academy Award-nominated film by Chinese director Zhang

Yu Hua began the afternoon by reading an essay entitled “Why I Write.”
Though he read in Chinese, written copies of the excerpt were available to audience
members in both Chinese and English. In the essay, Yu Hua explained the creatively
suffocating work of dentistry: “All I knew was, there was one place where
you were guaranteed to find the world’s least attractive scenery, and that was
inside the human mouth.”

He went on to describe his experience working for the cultural bureau in Beijing
as far more emotionally satisfying than dentistry, if not economically so. “I
had changed from being a pauper mired in drudgery to being a pauper who spent
his day having a good time,” he joked.

However, though Yu Hua’s tone was often warm and joking, he spoke seriously
about the craft of writing as well. “Writing can truly change a person,”
he said. “It can make a strong man tearful, or render a resolute person
indecisive, or it can convert a bold man into a timid and apprehensive creature.
Its effect, ultimately, is to transform a living person into a writer.

“I believe that literature is created by human souls, and weak as these
souls may be, they are also incomparably fertile and sensitive.”

After presenting the essay, Yu Hua turned the floor over to students from the
Chinese department, who read aloud excerpts of the English translations of “To
Live” and Yu Hua’s newer novel, “Chronicles of a Blood Merchant.”

The Q&A session followed, with audience members asking questions in Chinese
and English and Yijun Li ’05 providing translation both ways. The author discussed
topics ranging from his writing process, the state of contemporary Chinese literature,
and his feelings toward the film adaptation of “To Live.” Though he
felt the movie was very different from his original novel, Yu Hua explained
how the age difference between himself and director Zhang Yimou led to the differences
and how they resulted in a different but equally beautiful and powerful product.

After again showing his playful side with a humorous anecdote about traveling
to William Faulkner’s grave in Mississippi, Yu Hua shared refreshments with
audience members and signed copies of “To Live” and “Chronicles
of a Blood Merchant.”

Yu Hua will also be speaking at Haverford today at 2:00 p.m., followed by a
screening of the film “To Live” at 3:30 p.m.


2) Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal criticizes Bush
administration on abortion, women’s issues

by Greg Leiserson
Campus News Editor

In a packed Scheuer Room last night, Eleanor Smeal, current president of the
Feminist Majority Foundation and former president of the National Organization
for Women, argued that the reversal of Roe v. Wade and other court rulings essential
for women’s rights is closer than most people think. Smeal launched a wide-ranging
attack on the current administration’s policies for foreign aid, domestic assistance
programs, and judicial nominees and also encouraged students to attend the March
for Freedom of Choice planned for Washington on April 25, 2004. NOW’s current
president, Kim Gandy, was slated to appear as well, but was called back to Washington
for action relating to the Republican party’s campaign to highlight the filibustering
of judicial nominees.

Smeal’s central goal was to debunk the notion that the primary opponents of
the women’s movement are religious institutions or popular religious figures
such as Jerry Falwell. Having spent a lifetime in politics, she noted that the
answer to almost every question can be found by following the money. According
to Smeal, the central reason for the administration’s opposition to abortion
and birth control lies in a desire to please industry by assuring a continuous
supply of cheap labor. “You think they got a corner on religion?”
she asked; then, responding to her own question, answered, “They got a
corner on big business.” She argued that one can see this tendency in the
fact that the administration’s first act in office was to institute a “global
gag rule on family planning” for all organizations that receive US aid.
She also noted that it seems that every time some ruling or legislation is made
on women’s rights domestically, Republicans in Congress act to prevent that
same decision from impacting institutions abroad.

The nature of Bush’s judicial nominees for the lower courts was also a point
of interest in the talk, as Smeal said that as soon as the tenuous 5-4 pro-choice
majority on the Supreme Court is lost, not only will the administration seek
to overturn Roe v. Wade, but also Griswold v. Connecticut and Eisenstadt v.
Baird. Griswold v. Connecticut was the original US Supreme Court ruling in 1965
which overturned a Connecticut state law prohibiting the use of contraceptives
because it violated a marital right to privacy and Eisenstadt v. Baird extended
the use of contraceptives to unmarried people, saying that an exclusion unique
to those individuals violated their rights. “Courts are being stacked,”
Smeal said, “and it isn’t just abortion, it’s fundamental women’s rights.”

One goal of the women’s movement, Smeal said, should be to ensure not just
the protection of Roe v. Wade in the present, but to make touching the issue
part of “the third rail of politics, in addition to social security.”

In addition to these topics, Smeal touched on the plight of women in Iraq,
Afghanistan, and even those who face economic disadvantages here in the US.
She concluded with one piece of advice for students seeking to balance the time
demands of a Swarthmore workload with political activism, “You gotta condition
yourself when you’re young to not need sleep.”


3) College Corner: Interview with a Sharples bartender

by Anya Carrasco
Gazette Reporter

O.K. So maybe he doesn’t serve alcoholic drinks, and he’s not really a bartender
(and not behind the Sharples bar either), but with his charisma and love for
people, he might as well be. This is Andre, the Sharples staff person who has
probably made your day by preparing you a beverage when you’ve felt sick, stressed,
down or ‘just because.’

Andre: Could I get you something to drink? Do you like tea?

Daily Gazette: Hey! I’m the one asking questions here!

[Andre laughs, and with the swiftness of a pro, quickly proceeds to making
a delicious concoction of lemon and cinnamon spice teas, with a special technique
for squeezing a lemon slice and adding honey]

DG: So where are you originally from?

A: I was born and raised in Chester, PA. Now I live in Upper Darby.

DG: How was it like growing up in Chester?

A: At the time I was there, it was great. I grew up in a single-parent household,
and with the guidance of my grandparents. You really appreciated people, and
the little you had growing up. The most important part of my upbringing was
church. That was a must in my grandparent’s eyes. “God is always put first”
– that’s what I was taught.

DG: What’s your family like now? Do you have kids?

A: Yes. I have a daughter that’s 30, a son that’s 24 and another son that’s

DG: What did you do before coming to Swarthmore?

A: In Chester, I had a seafood store and after the seafood store, I worked
in Philadelphia for a law firm doing messenger work.

DG: How long have you been at Swarthmore?

A: I would say seven-plus years.

DG: What do you like about Swarthmore?

A: Interacting with people. Especially students in stressful times, when you
can say something that will lift their spirits. And they’re away from home,
so I try to create a pleasant atmosphere while they’re here.

I also have to add that I have a great boss. It’s the truth. None of this would
have been possible without her.

DG: Do you have a favorite moment?

A: I had a student who was sick before going home on Thanksgiving. I said “I’ll
make you a tea,” and after a while he said, “Man, I feel much better.”
And when he came back from break, he came back with a thank-you note from his
mom, a mug and a box of chocolates. The note was sufficient. And even that was
too much. You, the students, are my boss like my boss is my boss. Without you,
I wouldn’t have my job.

At the end of every year, I want to know I’ve done 365 good things; in a leap
year, 366 good things. Taking somebody’s tray, smiling and wishing them a good
day – anything – I want to leave here knowing I’ve done a good deed.

DG: A funny Sharples moment?

A: Screw Your Roommate. I think that’s pretty funny – friends having fun with
friends. Good times are Spring Fling, where the Swarthmore community comes together
and shows what Swarthmore’s about – about family.

DG: What’s your favorite drink to make for people?

A: I like to surprise them. My endearment is to make somebody a hot tea if
they’re not feeling well.

DG: Any tips for the tea-lovers out there? Or how many marshmallows we should
put in our hot chocolates?

A: [laughs] How do you know about the hot chocolate? Well, first you mix some
vanilla in to give it flavor, hazelnut creamer, marshmallows, sugar, you stir,
and voila!

The ingredients over the tea that are the most important are the prayers. I
usually ask God to make that person feel better when I give it to them. The
tea is just the instrument for the person through the prayer.

Honey should be used if one has consumed a lot of caffeine. It has a lot of

DG: You seem to be an expert at this. Where did you build your expertise?

A: The truth: The students have made me better. If they’re not feeling it,
then you have to go back to the table so they can feel it. Trial and error –
that’s life. You have to fail to succeed; can’t do one without the other.

DG: How do you usually approach, or pick the people you make drinks for?

A: Usually I can tell if somebody is sick or feeling down. Or maybe somebody
will be trying to make a tea and I offer to help. When I’m here it’s about the
people around me. I’m honored to do it. Like I said, you’re my boss. I have
professors I make things for too.

The key is that no one should bring their personal problems to the workplace.
Before I step into Sharples, I mentally pack a suitcase, close it and put it
away. You’ll never see my personal problems interfere with my work. When I’m
here, it’s about you guys. [Pointing at my tea cup] You see, that’s what makes
it worth it. Seeing how the level of that cup goes down.


4) Weekend roundup

by Evelyn Khoo
Living and Arts Editor

The semester’s half over, and if you still haven’t taken up any offers of off-campus
activities, shame on you. Although this weekend is a hot one to remain on campus
(you know you want to go stroke those engineers’ shiny new pocket protectors
at the engin party), there are still a couple of things going in the city if
you’re immune to engin charms.


Relive those teen years (for all you nonfrosh)! Watch “Beautiful Thing”,
a portrait of adolescent self-discovery set in a working class housing project
in modern day London, playing at Tomlinson/Randall Theaters, Temple University,
Annenberg Hall Building at 13th and Norris Streets at 8:00 p.m.


Had your music bone tickled last night at the Jazz ensemble concert? Want more?
You might want to pop by the Saves the Day concert at the Electric Factory,
421 North 7th Street, 7:30 p.m.


Feeling homesick? Swaddle yourself in memories by watching “The Velveteen
Rabbit”, at Mum Puppettheatre, 115 Arch Street, 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.


5) World news roundup

* US troops have arrested six Iraqis suspected to have been involved in attacks
against US helicopters. The individuals were captured during a series of raids
between Tuesday and Friday, in Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit. One of the Iraqis
captured was a policeman, and had a badge issued by coalition forces. Meanwhile
more pressure was put on the coalition members from the US as Japan delayed
plans to send troops and South Korea capped its contribution at 3,000 soldiers.

* In an effort to stop the Democrats from blocking the confirmation of conservative
judges, Republicans vowed to have the Senate stay overnight again on Thursday,
despite the fact that they had already been in session for thirty hours straight.
The talkathon is now scheduled to last until 9:00 a.m. Friday morning, when
filibuster votes will take place on three female judges. Some freshman GOP senators
said that they had asked for the extension in order to have more time to speak.
One such senator, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said “I never dreamed
that in a thirty-hour debate you would have to fight to get two minutes.”
Graham also threatened to sue the Senate rules if the Republicans are not successful
in breaking the filibuster, a possiblity which is seemingly increasingly more
likely to many senators. This is the first overnight session in a decade.

* Chief Justice Roy Moore of Alabama was thrown off the bench on Thursday for
his refusal to remove a Ten Commandments plaque from the state courthouse. He
was thrown off the bench by a judicial ethics panel, which said he had placed
himself “above the law.” Moore, who became a conservative hero for
his stance, said he had no regrets.

*The oldest person in the world, Mitoyo Kawate, died at age 114 on Thursday
in Japan. She had become the oldest person two weeks ago, after the death of
fellow Japanese Kamato Hongo, who had been 116 and 45 days old. It is not yet
clear who is the next-oldest person in the world, though the oldest American
appears to be Charlotte Benker of Ohio, who turns 114 on November 16th.


6) Campus events


Dash for Cash
Parrish 1st, 1:00 p.m.

Greek Drama Symposium
Scheuer Room, 1:00 p.m.

English Department Flim Clips
Science Center 199, 1:00 p.m.

Yale Law School Presentation
Bond, 3:00 p.m.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile: a play by Steve Martin
LPAC Mainstage, 7:00 p.m.

Movie Committee Screening: “Clue”
Science Center 101, 7:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

The Swarthmore College Jazz Ensemble Concert
Lang Concert Hall, 8:00 p.m.

Anime/Manga Club Screening: “Last DVD of Serial Experiments Lain”
Kohlberg 228, 9:00 p.m.

Rose Tattoo Cafe
Olde Club, 9:00 p.m.

Engineering Party
Paces, 10:00 p.m.


Picasso at the Lapin Agile, a play by Steve Martin
LPAC Mainstage, 3:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Swarthmore College Wind Ensemble Concert
Lang Concert Hall, 8:00 p.m.

Grafitti Party
Delta Upsilon Lodge, 10:00 p.m.


LPAC lobby, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.


7) Clarification

In Thursday’s coverage of the Student Council fireside chat, the increase in
the employee base wage rate two years ago from $6.66 to $9.00 was described
as the “living wage” that the staff had decided upon. While this term
was used at the fireside chat, the Staff Compensation Review Committee that
made the decision did not use the term, and did not intended for the increase
to be viewed as an attempt to provide a living wage. The ad hoc committee’s
recommendation for a living wage is due out later this month.



1) Upcoming contests

There are no contests scheduled for today.

Cross Country at NCAA Division III Regionals at Dickinson, 11:00 a.m.
Swimming at F&M, 1:00 p.m.

Women’s Basketball at Widener (Scrimmage), 1:00 p.m.



“Communism doesn’t work because people like to own stuff.”
–Frank Zappa


Interested in reporting or writing for the Gazette?
Got a news or sports tip for us?
Just want to tell us what you think?

Contact the staff at

Managing Editor: Pei Pei Liu
Campus News Editors:

Greg Leiserson
Alexis Reedy

Living & Arts Editor: Evelyn Khoo
World News Editor: Roxanne Yaghoubi
Sports Editor: Saurav Dhital
Associate Editor: Megan Mills
News Reporters:

Scott Blaha
Charlie Buffie
Anya Carrasco
Jonathan Ference
Alex Glick
Lauren Janowitz
Jaeyoon Kim
Sanggee Kim
Ken Patton
Melissa Phruksachart
Maki Sato
Angelina Seah
Christine Shin
Siyuan Xie

Sports Writers: Sarah Hilding
Holice Kil

Robbie Hart
Kyle Khellaf
Max Li
Casey Reed


Charlie Buffie
Greg Leiserson

Weathercaster: Josh Hausman

The Daily Gazette is published Monday through Friday by an independent
group of Swarthmore College students. The Daily Gazette Web Site is updated
regularly, as news happens. Technical support from the Swarthmore College
Computer Society is gratefully acknowledged.

Our world news roundup is compiled daily, using a variety of sources, most
notably the Associated Press (,
Reuters (, CNN
(, and The New York Times (
Our campus sports
summaries are derived from information provided by the Swat Athletics Department

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This concludes today’s report.

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