TAF Real World – Week #18 of 51

Anna Wu is a photographer who’s been wedding-hopping TAFers weddings over the summer. Here she is with a post about the quiet side of LOL for WEEK 18 (or 33 more weeks ’til TAF!)

Imagine tafLove. It’s loud, right? Ride the Pony. Woosha woosha. Laughter. Jokes. Group cheers. Ridiculousness all around. But you can also imagine the quieter side of tafLove. Nighttime conversations. Small Group heart-to-hearts. Soul searching. The unspoken support we have for one another.

Oftentimes, we think that louder is better. We think that the louder we are, the more people will follow. And we spend a lot of energy on the obvious ways to LOL– loudly. But I challenge us to remember that love doesn’t need to be loud to be powerful.

I’ve always been kind of a quiet kid. When I first started going to TAF, my brother Albert and his friend Kevin were the showstopping cute kids. They were wacky and adorable, and this earned them plenty of love and attention. As for me, I was an observer. I learned to watch for the quiet moments through all the noise. Some of my most memorable TAF moments have been those quiet displays of Love: a personal conversation when I thought no one really cared; our “racism workshop” in JH; and countless small gestures of caring that have happened in between.

LOL is not about volume. It’s about open expression. TAF can help us develop our own ways of finding love and expressing love. TAF helped me grow from being the shy kid to being a program director and feeling like I could contribute something worthwhile. TAF also helped foster one of the most important means of silently LOLing in my “real world” life today– photography.

I photograph love for a living. As a wedding photographer, I’ve found the heart of my photographic style in the understated, the unspoken, the quiet. I look for those LOL moments in the silent moments that often go unnoticed.

You can see it in the way she looks at him and breaks out in her sly smile, a gesture of openness and surrender. It’s in the way he quietly grasps her hand, communicating his support without a single spoken word. These are some of the infinite ways ways people quietly Love out Loud every day.

Finally, I’ve been lucky enough to photograph three TAFers’ weddings this year, so I thought I’d show some of these quiet LOL moments with you. First, Jenny & Kevin’s Aliso Viejo wedding:

Margaret & Eric’s San Francisco wedding:

And finally, Erin & Nick’s Indianapolis wedding– for which we shot video, so these are the few photos we have from the night:

If you want to read more, I’d recommend:
Jenny & Kevin’s Aliso Viejo wedding
Margaret & Eric’s San Francisco wedding
How I Wanted to Live | Pursuing Passions A heartfelt post about “living the life”
Digging up Treasures | True Beginnings of Anna Wu Photography A tribute to my beginnings in photography as a kid with a camera at TAF


It was an unseasonably chilly September day for the TAF Chicago 2010 Kickoff, but that didn’t stop 18 campers and a host of TAF staff from showing up for fun, games, and life lessons in Lombard, Ill. And puppies.

Suitably, the “Big Wind Blew” at the beginning of the day, with the group embarking on a host of old school TAF games. Luckily, 2010 hospitality coordinator Bing Wang was there to lead us in the icebreakers. After everyone introduced themselves and settled into the TAF spirit again, we sat down and recapped key information that JH speaker John D. Lin and Youth speaker Tom Lin shared with us in July. Remember languages of love? Using your shrewdness to benefit others? Cross-cultural communication? We did!

Then some lucky volunteers were chosen to demonstrate how nonverbal communication can allow others to help you achieve your goals. In a spirited (and hilarious) re-enactment of “trying to catch a chicken,” Jocelyn Liang showed off her chicken-chasing skills to the group.

Afterwards, the group broke into three smaller groups to get to know each other better. We talked about post-TAF life, including the ways we “Loved Out Loud” since July. All sorts of great ideas came up during these meetings- if all goes well, TAF Chicago could be invading all sorts of Chicagoland establishments soon: Laser Tag, pumpkin patches, haunted houses, ski lodges, bowling alleys, you name it. (No, seriously, give us more ideas!) We also can’t wait for participants to start leading some great workshops for us every month.

Speaker session was led by Hiro Kawashima, executive director of the nonprofit organization Supplies for Dreams, which provides school supplies and mentoring to Chicago Public School students. Hiro showed everyone how people (especially young people) could find a passion in helping others and put plans into motion. During the session, everyone was challenged to think of a cause that they care about and think of a small way to help it. After all, it is the small endeavors that are most likely to succeed and touch people personally. Then, each small group sat down and came up with a plan to advertise and fundraise for a cause of their choice. Two groups made plans to assist a local animal shelter, while another set up a mentorship program at their school. It was a great way to think about how communications skills can be used to help others.

The formal part of TAF Chicago was over and some of the group headed out to eat dinner at Cici’s. Then we all journeyed to Holes and Knolls to play a round of mini-golf. But that wasn’t until after we discovered the best playground contraptions ever. Check out our photos and videos to see how it all went down!

All in all, it was a great TC Kickoff meeting. Can’t wait to see you guys next month for our leadership-themed meeting, with a special HALLOWEEN EXTRAVAGANZA!

PS: If you are in the Chicago area and haven’t checked out a TAF Chicago weekend yet, why not? YOU COULD PLAY WITH PUPPIES.

RECAP: INTERPRETATIONS – a Communication Workshop

During Wednesday of this year’s TAF, the tafLabs program was asked to run a workshop for the JH and Youth programs. Obviously, with tafLabs’ collective interest in the arts and media, we wanted to incorporate those topics into our session. However, we’ve already spoken at length about the importance of media along with other subtopics like Asian American representation, etc. We wanted to do something a little more unique and interactive, and thankfully, the yomyomf.com-hosted film contest Interpretations was the perfect workshop content!

The premise of the contest is this — each filmmaker uses the exact same script, in the exact same order. There are only four lines, and they are:

– It’s not something I’d do.
– Well?
– It’s not what I expected.
– You sure?

Each of the Family Groups at TAF came up with their own ideas, some funny, some serious, all incredibly creative. They showed a wide range of interpretation, which is an important part of Communication (ding ding ding!). We sometimes overlook or forget that just expressing ourselves is not enough for good communication. You have to try to do it in a way so that others can receive your message, and vice versa. The point is, good communication is a two-way street and the sending of the message is just as important as the decoding or interpretation of a message.

In the end, tafLabs chose one story idea to film at TAF. Based on the storyline as well as the feasibility of filming it within the time constraints of TAF’s programming (we’re fast because we have to be, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make it easier on ourselves!), we chose the Bacon Family Group’s entry. We filmed the story immediately after our session as a follow-up workshop, which gave the campers a chance to be actors IN media, and to see a side of communication from a different perspective than they might be used to.

And now, we happily present to you the finished piece!


Now, we also mentioned that we had to choose which story to film partly based on our abilities to film within the constraints of TAF and Manchester College facilities, which means we could not have shot all the stories at TAF even if we had the time. Thankfully, Youth camper Ryan Yang was encouraged to take his story idea and film it in Chicago after TAF ended — and boy, are we sure glad we did. Ryan’s Interpretations submission is a moving piece dedicated to his friend Will Kelley, and others like him, who have battled cancer.


Eternal Piece, A Dedication from Kinema Group on Vimeo.

If you have a moment, you can check out other film entries with the Interpretations Film Viewer, and please sign up and leave some love for Out of Order and for Eternal Piece!

Two other notable pieces to check out:
Karen Lin’s “Little Blue Angel” and Jason Lee’s “Strangers in a Park,” which may have content unsuitable for those under the age of 13 — Parental Discretion advised.

Congrats to all the filmmakers and storytellers out there, and we’re proud to see all the creativity connected to TAF and our Taiwanese American community 🙂



Youth Choir – Across the Universe by The Beatles

JH Choir – Everybody by Ingrid Michaelson

Juniors Choir – Don’t Stop Believing by Journey

TAF Night 2010 – Swing Choir Update

Woohoo TAF Night acts! We’ll be uploading all the acts in the next week or so, or as much as our TAF Blog upload speed allows. We wanted to get the program swing choirs out to you first though, so everyone can spend this weekend learning (or re-learning) all the amazing moves!

Juniors “The Rise and Fall of D & K”

JH “Better Than YOUth”

Youth “Pretty Girl Swag”

Youth “Got More Swag”

Keep checking back for more updates from TAF Night 2010!


How are your ears? Are they bored from a strange lack of small group chatter and chants? Or are they depressed due to TAF Blues? Maybe just tired from a sleepless week? Or worried with back to school season in full swing? Well don’t fret, because the TAF Blog has a cure for you!

Not one, not two, but THREE TAF Music pieces are available for you to listen to all day long to bring back all the TAF memories! Sing along to Viva Love Forever, memorize all the TAF Rules, and learn all the moves to the JH Swing Choir! All for the low low price of 4 easy installments of….FREE!!!

(to download, Right-click and “save file as” or “save link as” or “download link as” or…yea)

1. TAF Rules
2. Viva Love Forever 2010
3. JH: Better Than YOUth
4. Youth: Pretty Girl Swag
5. Youth: Got More Swag
6. Juniors: The Rise and Fall of D & K

(PS: In case you forgot, click here to download the live version of Viva Love Forever from TAF Night 2009!)


With this year being TAF’s 30th birthday celebration, tafLabs and tafMedia created this retrospective piece to commemorate and preserve TAF’s history and development from the early 1980’s till now. While we have all grown and evolved thanks to TAF, TAF itself has grown and changed with us, and its just good to know where it all started from.

Special thanks go out to Anna Wu and Ho Chie Tsai for putting this together, Dan Lu for assisting in research, all of our interviewees, and of course, every single person who has come to, visited, and enjoyed TAF.

TAF has a rich history and there are many more stories like this to share. Maybe someday we can get to more of them, but this will do for now. A great thirty years have gone by, which in reality has only been thirty weeks. Looking forward to the next thirty. TAFLove to all, past, present, and future 🙂