TAF Real World – Week #46 of 51

Hello Everyone!
The LOVE OUT LOUD blog was busy with exams, graduations and summer travels. But we’re back and getting ready for our final countdown to TAF2011! (Be sure to register ASAP! We are on WEEK 46 – or 6 more weeks until TAF!!!)
Here are Cathleen, Erica, Jasmine, Joy and Allen spreading some LOL in the language of words of affirmation.
P.S. Happy Father’s Day!

Love Out Loud through {HEART JAPAN}

It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been to TAF and actually only went that one year. But it’s amazing the friendships that forge through one week at TAF. Since then I’ve stayed in touch with a good handful of TAF folks and it’s been even easier to follow as production quality has gotten better and better. It’s always inspiring to see what people do with their gifts and talents and amazing the impact we can make as a generation through multimedia.

Recently, my wife and I started an organization called {HEART JAPAN} along with two of our creative friends. Our goal is to empower other creatives to make a difference with the gifts and talents they’ve been given. It’s truly amazing what we can do as a collective group as opposed to individuals.

Although we’re currently focused on Japan, we plan on rolling it out to a much larger scale. Maybe what you are passionate about is your local dog shelter. Well go out there and do something about it!

In the meantime, what can you do?

1. Get involved.

Think of a creative way to raise funding and/or awareness and we can help get the word out about it and support you from the back end. It’s pretty open for interpretation. Doing a bake sale, a benefit concert, a silent auction, an art show, YouTubeing about it. That all counts. Visit heart-japan.org/join for more info.

2. Support.

Buy a shirt. We have shirts and calendars on sale on the website. All proceeds will be going to support Japan relief. Visit heart-japan.org/shop to see everything.

Donate money. Regardless of if we’re a student or working, we’re all very blessed. Support Japan relief directly at heart-japan.org/donate.

Support a friend. For those of you guys who know Young Lee, he and his band are having a benefit concert this Saturday. For details and to see what might be going on in your area, visit heart-japan.org/benefits. If there isn’t one in your area, see number 1.

3. Get the Word Out!

We all have so much power and voice through all of the social media out there. Facebook, tweet, email, and/or text people about {HEART JAPAN}. Although it was started by four creatives, {HEART JAPAN} is our collective effort!

Thanks for listening to an old man talk. Do good, be passionate, and love out loud!

Jacob Fu

(That’s me in the bottom right!)

TAF Real World – Week #34-35ish of 51

Happy Spring! Seventeen weeks until TAF 2011! Seven spots left for this LOL Blog Year! http://bit.ly/tafrealworldsignup

So to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to tackle this blog assignment. There’s so much to say about TAF and so much to say about Loving Out Loud. Then I realized something – hand-written letters are slowly becoming extinct, but they make people warm and fuzzy inside. So here’s a letter for you!

After I wrote this letter, I got online and chatted with my little sib from 2008 for a little bit, and we agreed that we’d try to hang out whenever I make it back up to Chicago again. So here’s my challenge to you: reach out to those friends who you haven’t talked to in a while and check in on them. Check in on a little/big sib and see how they’re doing. It’s a small gesture, but you never know what can make someone’s day. Put your pen to paper and write a letter to someone, or even write a small thank you note for someone who may have made your day.

I’m not sure who Amanda is, but this is just one way of many to Love out Loud. We can show people we care with our words and our actions. Your role as a TAFer is never over! We’ve got to go out and use everything that we’ve learned at TAF in the real world, because the real world needs servant leaders, and people who love.

Oh – if you need stationery, click around here and you’ll find some cute stuff, like the one I used! http://moko.pupu.jp/print/

TAF Real World – Week #31 of 51

Hi there, WEEK 31 (or 20 WEEKS ’til TAF!) Here’s Sherry sharing an example of LOLing – ninja style. Don’t forget to sign up to post more LOL thoughts/stories/media here!

Attention TAF Family,
This is Sherry Lin reporting LIVE from the University of Illinois Chicago. There has been a recent report of a ‘LOVE Ninja’ activity on the UIC campus. These disguised figures were spotted passing out care packages under the banner of LOVE. Let us look deeper into this LOL matter inspired by their Sensei, Jaeson Ma’s 365 Days of Love project.

TAF Real World – Week #29 of 51

Haallo, my name is Grant Wu. I am what most TAFers today would consider old school. Many of you weren’t even BORN YET the first year I went to TAF. Kids didn’t roll with cell phones back then, we had pagers! We didn’t have any high speed internet, we had to use dial-up – AOL baby! We didn’t have MP3s, I-pods, I-pads, I-puds. We had Sony Walkmans and Discmans playing tapes and CDs. Anyways, my first year at TAF was in 1993 as a Youth camper. I had some friends from Chinese School (Morris Lee and Andy Chen) who had been trying to get me to go for years, but for some reason I refused. Finally I gave in and decided to check it out. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even really understand TAF love my first year, and had second thoughts about going back. I don’t think I was used to the cheesiness, the games, the format, and just overall spirit that was TAF. Perhaps I was just caught off guard or thought I was too cool. Fortunately, I decided to go back in ‘94, and it was a complete 180 to say the least. My small group Advisor was Albert Chen (Andy Chen aka Fob’s older bro). Being in that small group changed my life. Ten years later, 3 years as Youth Advisor, 2 as PA, and 3 as Youth PD brought me to 2004 which was the last time I attended as a full week participant. By the time this gets posted, I will have just turned 35 years young, and I can honestly say besides my family and friends, TAF is the single greatest thing to ever happen to me in my life. I am who I am today in large reason due to TAF. There is seriously no place like it anywhere. I remember so clearly in one of my final years as PD. We were having one of our final staff meetings, I think it was a Friday night, and people were wrapping up the week, getting amped up for their final day with their small groups. Things got pretty emotional – and one staffer said that she felt sorry for everyone else (outside of TAF) because they will never experience what we have experienced here at TAF. Perhaps that is part of what makes TAF so special because it is such a small fraternity, and we truly are blessed to be a part of this. But at the same time, what good is TAF if you only live or act in “TAF mode” for 1 week out of the year? TAF should push you to live and love out there in the real world. Spread TAF love to everyone in your life, not only TAFers. Remember the TAF mission is to foster personal growth and develop servant leaders in the Taiwanese American community for the benefit of SOCIETY. It’s been amazing to see so many of you all grow up through the years and blossom into the servant leaders you are today. I know the next generation of kids will be even more amazing servant leaders because they have you all to look up to and learn from. TAF is in good hands right now and there is no doubt the future looks brighter than ever. Thank you TAF-labs for the opportunity to blog, and I just wanted to show that I still have TAF LOVE and always will!

Grant Wu

oh hey!
we’re past the halfway mark in this TAF year! make sure you all mark your calendars and save the date – TAF 2011 at manchester college will be july 31-aug 7.
in the meantime, keep everyone updated with how you are LOVING OUT LOUD this year by volunteering to post on the TAFblog!
tiny link made by Karen, which is why she’s ED! she’s good at optimizing and making things user-friendly!

TAF Real World – Week #26 of 51

We’re going back in time to WEEK 26 (or 25 weeks ’til TAF!) There was a crazy snowstorm in the midwest last week. Texas got some snow recently too, which caused a state of emergency. Despite minor obstacles, Alison persevered with her commitment to post on TAFblog. That’s some serious LOL! Here are her reflections on how to apply LOL in daily life:

Hello everyone! I’m going to start this with a disclaimer. I always have a lot to say but I’m no good at putting my thoughts into words, so I apologise in advance for my inadequate writing abilities.

TAF 2010: Love Out Loud. When I received the Facebook message telling me this year’s theme, I was ecstatic. I thought the play on LOL was incredibly clever and whoever came up with it was brilliant. This was my tenth year at TAF, making me officially old school. TAF has been a huge part of my life, teaching me life lessons I couldn’t have learned anywhere else. Before coming to TAF, I was a trouble child, always doing my best to be rebellious and hard to raise. Suffice it to say, I didn’t have very many friends. When one of our family friends told us about TAF, my mother was so excited. She asked me and my sister if we wanted to go but didn’t wait for an answer. Her decision was already made: her two babies were going to get on a plane to Indiana where they would spend a week with other Taiwanese American kids, learning about what it meant to be Taiwanese American. Something like that. I remember not wanting to go at all. I was seven years old and the only place I’d ever flown was to Taiwan with my family. I went to one sleepover but had to be picked up in the middle of the night because I became homesick. Somehow my parents managed to get me on the plane without me screaming and yelling, and I reluctantly readied myself for a week in an unknown place filled with strangers, save my older sister. When the weekend came around, my parents flew up to Indiana. My mother was so anxious to see me, to make sure I was doing all right. According to her, I barely stopped to say hi because I was having so much fun. I could go on and on, telling y’all (make fun of me all you want, I’m from Texas so I will forever say “y’all” instead of “you all” or “you guys”) my story of each year, but I won’t put y’all through that much incompetent writing. Long story short, I ended up loving TAF with my whole heart. I’ve met so many amazing people through TAF. It’s a great feeling knowing you’ve got friends all around the world who will always be there for you if you need someone to talk to. This year I learned that loving out loud can mean lots of different things and that everyone has their own love language(s). Loving out loud can be something as simple as a random act of kindness. It can be sitting with and talking to a stranger who looks like they need a friend. It can be giving someone the benefit of the doubt when they’ve upset you; remember, everyone has a story. Loving out loud can be checking up on a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile. It can be in the form of a warm hug. Though loving out loud doesn’t necessarily need to be literally “out loud”, it most certainly can be. Telling your friends and family you love and care about them is yet another of the countless ways to love out loud. I strongly encourage everyone to keep up the loving out loud; you never know when your LOL will be what gets someone through the day.

I suppose that’s all I have to say for now. I hope it was somewhat articulate and understandable.. Hope y’all have a great twenty-five weeks filled with (TAF)love. See y’all at TAF 2011! 🙂

TAF Real World – Week #27 of 51

G’day mates! Love Out Loud can often start chain reactions. Howard reports from down under on how LOL can trigger a new path in life for week #27 (or 24 weeks ’til TAF)!


Now this is a story, all about how
My life got flipped, turned upside-down,
And I’d like to take a minute,
So just sit right there,
I’ll tell you how taflove helped me move down to Australiayer

Love has over 20 different definitions, but for me taflove has only one definition. It can best be described as a profoundly tender and compassionate concern/enthusiasm for the well-being of others. With taflove, all are accepted as is and there is no room for judgment or exclusiveness. Taflove is not just exhibited by your actions, but by your state of mind.

The beginning of this story dates back to my first year at TAF in 1996. I was 12 years old and well, I had no desire to go to TAF. To me, TAF was a stupid camp just like every other camp my parents had signed me up for, with the only difference being the camp would be filled with Taiwanese kids. I remember packing my bags ever so slowly, hoping my lack of effort would be rewarded with not having to go anymore. Unfortunately, this was not the case…my mom dragged me kicking and screaming to my friends’ car (Tim and Joh Kuo) and off we went to Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI.

Upon arrival we were greeted by enthusiastic counselors whom I found scary and overly excited. I was a shy and awkward kid and I was in an entirely new environment. Going to potlucks, Sunday school, and other Taiwanese events with your parents is one thing, but going to a camp by yourself with all these strangers who look just like you is another altogether. Tim and I were shuttled off to our room, and the rest of the day was a blur. What I distinctly remember is the ice cream social in the basement that night, where four simple words struck up a friendship that’s lasted to this day, and a friendship that helped bring me to Australia (Butterfly Effect style).

Those words were: “Want to play Signal?” and they were spoken by Jonathan Ray Lee.

Jon was outgoing. I was not. Jon was a TAF veteran at 13. I was a noob. Jon knew how to smile. I knew how to brood.

Jon is the first friend I made at TAF, but will certainly not be the last. By being friendly and open, Jon exhibited what taflove meant at a young age. He didn’t judge me by my clothes or my demeanor, he just wanted to hang out and make a friend. This attitude is one that’s made a significant impact on me, and one I try to live out each day.

After playing Signal, our friendship and interests grew over the years. 1999 was our first year on TAF Slideshow with Charlene Chen and Roger Lin, and it was the last year of TAF at Calvin College. It was also the last year that Slideshow was on actual slides. (Since retro is in we should bring it back.) In 2000 we were on Slideshow again, this time with Jay Liang and armed with 1.3 megapixel digicams. (Top of the line, you know.) In 2001 Jon abandoned me to be a Youth advisor, and I did Slideshow with Carolyn Huang and Anna Wu. To make up for it, we began construction of a Slideshow manifesto… which Jon should have a copy of somewhere. In 2002 we were back on Slideshow, but also worked as JH advisors (Taiwanese Terror with Amy Liao) alongside Kevan Lin and Michelle Hsu. (JH PD’s represent!) 2002 was also the year of our infamous glamour shots. (Don’t ask, don’t tell.)

I missed TAF in 2003, but it was Jon’s first year as JH PD. From 2004-2005 Jon was PD and I was a JH advisor for the Magical Bah-Tzang’s with Ranee Wu and Super Powderpuff- I’M SO SORRY I FORGOT OUR GROUP NAMES with Gloria Chang! 2006 was Jon’s last year as a JH PD with Alex Chen, and I abandoned JH to become a TAF Consultant. Because of this abandonment, our friendship, as most do every once in a while, hit a rough patch. Just kidding. Maybe. In 2007 I was only able to attend for the weekend and I was immediately thrown into Slideshow with Jon Lee, Jon Chen, the College Program, and Kevan Lin. It turned out pretty awesome. Then in 2008 I was brought on as JH PD with Tiffany Sun (first swing choir partner ever) and Jon kicked off TAFLabs with Kev Yau. The rest is history… like Juliana Wu (2008 JH PD.)

Since I digressed a bit with my career at TAF, I’ll get back to my point. Through the years we’ve participated in ITASA (as attendants and speakers,) met parents and grandparents, roadtripped, started a fledgling company (!!!) and hopefully impacted mankind in unique and compassionate ways. Last year we released a Public Service Announcement for Taiwanese Census 2010 as Slideshow Pictures with Alex Yang, Kev Yau, and the very special help of HoChie Tsai. While we were filming this, I brought up a trip to Australia and New Zealand with Jon, and he stated that he had relatives there. The seed was planted.

Soon enough we (mainly Jon) brought Jeff Cheng and Alice Wang on board to go on the trip with us, and it was the trip of a lifetime. We went scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, trekked through the rain forest, climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, drove to the coast of New Zealand and more. It was during this trip that I decided I HAD to live in Sydney.

In Sydney, Jon and I decided to do laundry at his cousin Kevin’s house while Jeff and Alice went to watch a show at the Sydney Opera House. While we were waiting for the laundry to finish, we decided to go to the mall that was just about to close. As we were walking past the food court we decided to make a right turn instead of a left, and we ran into Kevin’s friends by pure coincidence. It was here that we made friends with local Aussies and where our experience in Sydney elevated. These friends were a blessing in helping me move and settle into Sydney; I’m not sure I would be where I am today if I didn’t meet them. Moving to Australia would never have happened if I was never friends with Jon and didn’t take him up on his offer to play Signal. Through our friendship, I ended up on the other side of the world but I’m as happy as ever.

The moral of this story is live and breathe taflove…because a little love never hurt anybody, you might make a friend that will last you a lifetime, and your dreams might be realized.

TAF Real World – Week #25 of 51


As the Junior Staff of 2010, we wanted to share a few things we learned from our campers last year. Even though they may be much younger and sometimes half the size of their Big Sibs, they are so full of love. They have so much to offer to the TAF Family, and they even taught us, the STAFF, a few things about loving out loud. Here are a few things we learned:

Karena: I learned from TAF that Loving Out Loud means loving and welcoming people even though they’ve been absent from TAF for 8 years (like me); TAFers don’t discriminate if you’re a return camper or a new camper, they give you unconditional love out loud regardless of how many years you’ve been at TAF, which makes you feel even more at home.

Sherry: I learned form the JRs that Loving Out Loud means accepting those who might be a little different and becoming their friend.

Roger: I learned from the JRs that Loving Out Loud means listening to your friends, holding doors for others, and writing notes to each other. 🙂

Liz: I learned form the JRs that Loving Out Loud means loving like a child – without prejudice, without judgment, without conditions- because everybody needs love.

Steven: I learned from JRs that Loving Out Loud means caring for others enthusiastically, especially when times are tough.

Kristin: I learned from JRs that Loving Out Loud means to take the time to listen to what they have to say.

Deanna: I learned from the JRs that Loving Out Loud means to serve others and the importance of encouraging others. Mad props juniors!

Emmeline: I learned from the JRs that Loving Out Loud means thinking about other people before yourself and finding ways to make whatever they’re doing easier.

David: i learned from the juniors that loving out loud is easier than multivarible integration.

Godwin: I learned from JRs that sometimes Loving Out Loud is going just a little out of our way to show someone we care about them, like telling a friend how much I appreciate their company or putting candy in our small groups’ mailbox.

Thanks for showing us how to LOL!!!!

TAF Real World – Week #23 of 51

TAF Real World around the world!!! Here’s HoChie, who is an expert at traveling long distances to spread some LOL:

We’re looking for 10 more TAFers to post this year. Don’t miss out and sign up here!

TAF Real World – Week #22 of 51

Happy New Bunny Year!

Yes, it is the year of the bunny. That means it shall be a fantastic year. How do I know this? Because I was born on a bunny year. According to the Chinese zodiac, I am a red fire bunny. Yeah you better watch out… We’re super cute 🙂

2011 being a bunny year also means that I’m turning 24 in 2 months. What have I accomplished since then? Well, I just finished college, started a wedding videography company with Kev and Anna called Seaglass Cinema (video later), and I have fully completed my transformation into a woman. That’s right. I think I’m fat, I want plastic surgery, and sometimes I just go crazy.

Joking aside, 2011 will be a super great year for TAF as well. From a tafLabs perspective, 2011 marks the advent of new photovideo equipment, cinematography experience, and new food recipes for tafé. But most of all, I’m itching to see what kind of camp TAF will become after a whole year of loving out loud.

Things I look forward to in 2011:
The Closer (Mary McDonnell from Battlestar Galactica)
Grey’s Anatomy
Hawaii Five-O (Grace Park from Battlestar Galactica)
CSI (Katie Sackhoff from Battlestar Galactica)

Also, enjoy our first ever Seaglass Cinema video! Our very own Nick Huang from Juniors (which is Kelly Huang’s brother if you didn’t know because I didn’t know and it was a huge revelation to me) was married last September in Indianapolis. Take care and happy new bunny year!

Erin & Nick | 09.18.10 from Seaglass Cinema on Vimeo.

-Steve W.