Posts Tagged With: Vancouver

[Update] Thoughts about the Recent String of Sexual Assaults at UBC

Original post here.

The Ubyssey has published their opinion on the Take Back the Night rally.

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Thoughts about the Recent String of Sexual Assaults at UBC

This post will most likely be updated with further developments.

A map of where reported sexual assaults on the UBC Vancouver campus in 2013 occurred. Source: RCMP (from Globe and Mail)

For almost every weekend since the end of September, a report of a sexual assault was filed ([1] [2] [3] [4] [5]). If the pattern holds (which hopefully it won’t) another attempt will be made sometime this weekend. While the presence of at least one sexual assailant on campus who appears to be becoming more comfortable as the semester goes on is scary enough, I am somewhat dismayed by the response by campus inhabitants. Due to the controversial topic being discussed, reader discretion is strongly and strictly advised. Continue reading

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Non-consensual Sex Jokes in University Chants

Last week a disturbing trend of jokingly glamourising statutory rape of underage girls has perpetuated across two different Canadian universities: Saint Mary’s University in Halifax during orientation week and the University of British Columbia’s CUS‘ frosh week.

It’s strange to see that both use the word “YOUNG” as an acronym in both of their chants, and almost each letter stands for the same thing, Representatives of both universities claim it to be tradition:

“Like I said, it’s been going on for years,”

Jared Perry, The Globe and Mail

“I think it’s all passed down year after year … from forever, I guess”

Jacqueline Chen, The Ubyssey

While improbable things can happen, the likelihood of these two chants being around in their respective communities for years before someone turned on their head and noticed is low. One could make an argument that this chant existed at some other university and was adapted for other institutions as it disseminated, but the fact that these two incidents occurred within days of each other is very suspect.

Another issue is how no one thought it odd to have a chant about boning underage girls. If people have been around for a long time and lived with the chant, sure, it might be normalised and longtimers would be desensitised to it, but for these chants to exist for years unnoticed in a society that is becoming more egalitarian is near-impossible, especially if first-years are subject to them. I would like to think that newcomers to these universities have been exposed to “rape isn’t something to joke about” sentiments. Something as crass as this would have had more social media attention on it in previous years if it really occurred for a long time.

What do I think happened? Some kid thought it was hilarious to make this chant for wherever they were, and someone elsewhere got wind of it and thought it was funny too. From there it spread, all the way over to UBC.

The most shocking part of all of this is the disparity between the responses the two university representatives made:


“We didn’t see the message,” Mr. Perry said. “As odd as it sounds we didn’t see the message … we now realize that it’s extremely serious and we don’t want it to happen any more.”

-Globe and Mail


“We had problems a very long time ago with the cheers being public in a sort of way and the dean seeing,” Chen said. “We let the groups know: if it happens in the group, it has to stay in the group.”

The Ubyssey

While Perry seems to be repentant for his nonaction, Chen appears to be more worried about this behaviour being discovered by an outside party. This suggests one of two things:

  1. She is fine with the chant as long as it can’t be traced back to the committee, effectively minimising the problem of sexual assault.
  2. She admits that this incident is out of her control and is trying to minimise its impact, effectively calling her leadership management skills into question.

There’s a lot of inter-faculty teasing that goes around at UBC: Arts kids being told their diploma is worthless, engineers being virgins, etc, and in jest that’s fine; hardly anyone takes such claims seriously. But a social issue like sexual assault (of a minor, no less) is not funny, especially when most of the population of the place you’re in is undergoing the sexual experimentation phase of their life.

In any case, it doesn’t reflect well on Sauder’s reputation. I hope (in Sauder’s best interests) that they will have a personnel shuffle going and a better public apology instead of disavowing any responsibility to what some frosh leaders may say; as a fraction of the CUS, the frosh events will reflect on the faculty as a whole, and to claim otherwise is foolish.

UPDATE [09/09/13]:

The vandalism begins. Taken from Reddit link.

[UPDATE Sept. 18th, 2013]

UBC has just published a fact-finding report today detailing what the fact-finding team has discovered in CUS FROSH.


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[Review] It Sucks to Be You (if you haven’t watched Avenue Q yet)

We’re together
Here on Avenue Q!
We live on Avenue Q!
Our friends do too!
‘Til our dreams
Come true,
We live on Avenue Q!

“It Sucks To Be Me,” Avenue Q

Ending its extended run on September 14 (tomorrow!), the Arts Club has had major success in producing Avenue Q for theatergoers in an orgy of crude, sexual humour and somewhat uncomfortable truths.

We all live on Avenue Q! Source: Arts Club blog

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Fares will not be shared between buses and Skytrain under new Compass card program

In the lovely city of Vancouver, a customer of transit company TransLink may pay for a fare ticket on a bus or a Skytrain ticket machine and then use them on any other TransLink operated vehicle.

That may very well not be the case in the near future. Translink has decided to switch to a Compass card program which will start being implemented in late fall 2013. If you’ve used the transit system in Hong Kong, it’s similar to the Octopus card, where you can fill the card up with some money for future use.

A startling article made in the 24 Hours newspaper today states that due to an insufficient budget, all bus fare boxes may not be upgraded to produce Compass-compatible bus fares and as such passengers will need to pay for the Skytrain and bus fares separately.

This will not turn out well for transit as the article already acknowledges that angry passengers will take their frustrations out on the bus drivers who have nothing to do with this development. The vice-president of the TransLink bus driver union, Gavin Davies, says:

“You either go all the way or no way, they’re not two separate things. We have one system in place and it should be compatible.”

-Gavin Davies, 24 Hours

I think most (if not all) of TransLink commuters will agree with this statement. The situation is different in a place like Hong Kong, where the buses and the MTR are run by two different companies and as such double fares are understandable.

Furthermore, I’ve always been very dubious about the use of Compass cards on buses. Unlike Skytrain faregates which only allows you to pass through by scanning the card through, putting small gates at the exits of buses is harder to do as it causes people to waste time scanning their cards through. It then falls back onto the honour system, something that TransLink does not believe in with numerous fare evasion incidents on lines such as the B-99.

tl;dr: Get a hold of yourself, TransLink, because with this new double-fare stint, I sense even worse business coming your way.

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[Review] Shakespeare’s Twenty-Fourth Night (Rated R for Raunchiness and Revelry)

If you are able to see this play and have not seen it yet, avert thine eyes, for ’tis a piece so sad that to gaze upon it shall shatter thy joys into a miserable pile of elderberries in front of a nunnery. If you have seen it, continue on as you will have seen everything to be spoiled by!

This is what you’ll look like after the show: all smiles and bound chests. Image courtesy of Noah JD Chinn Books.

Continue reading

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[Review] Like, OMG, you guys!

“But I see a star
You’re my new muse
You’ve got the best freakin’ shoes!
And you lit a fuse
So go show them who’s
Legally Blonde!”

-Vivienne, “Legally Blonde Remix”

Omigod, omigod you guys, in Stanley Park is a fabulous event where you’ll have an outrageously fun time. That’s right, Legally Blonde is playing at Theatre Under The Stars. Spoilers ahead!

TUTS logo of Legally Blonde (Source:

I was accompanied Monday night by the lovely Tristen to enjoy the sojourn into the life of sorority president Elle Woods going straight into Harvard Law. Due to photography/videography restrictions for this production, any stills I provide will be from past productions performed.

An important part of any production is the opening; that is, it has to give off enough energy to keep the audience engaged. The first thing I was struck by was the intense energy in the opening number. The amount of enthusiasm the Delta Nu sisters gave off was contagious.

Set for the opening number on Broadway.

While this show is not as meta as other shows (such as [title of show]), it plays with a lot of tropes that you’d find in most musicals. In “Serious,” Warner (Elle’s beau) interrupts her as she begins to sing back to him, a departure from the traditional back-and-forth one would see in most musicals between a couple which establishes his character as a pompus and arrogant jerkass. The out-of-the-moment number that serves to highlight an actor’s skill.

One would say that Legally Blonde is a parodic musical; it would be highly unlikely for someone like Elle (no matter how audacious she presented herself as to the admissions commitee) to be accepted into Harvard Law,

The gurls [sic] cheering on Elle (Source: Rotten Tomatoes)

Props go toward the Delta Nu trio (Serena, Margot, and Pilar) as being perky and funny characters. While I generally hate that kind of character for their shallowness, they are quite endearing even if they don’t chase at all throughout the show. Other than being a Greek (pun very intended) chorus that Elle (and eventually Paulette) sees, they remind me of the Muses from Disney’s Hercules: very, very sassy.

A thing I was somewhat iffy about though was the set and certain parts of the choreography; quite a bit was eerily identical to the MTV showing of the musical in 2007. Now, I understand that taking bits and pieces from past shows isn’t unheard of or necessarily discouraged, but I would’ve loved if there was a different set for the opening number. “Whipped into Shape” could be forgiven as steps were given in the lyrics, and to change them would be unfair to the number. Oh, and “There! Right There!” had fallen into the trap of being given the misnomer “Gay or European.”

It’s a good musical: we see Elle transform from a ditsy sorority girl to a respectable lawyer in the span of 2-and-a-half hours. We see a scruffy socially displaced guy land someone who “won the genetic lotto.” The use of a cheerleading move cements a relationship between an unlucky hairstylist and a sexy UPS guy. UPDATE 27/07: The use of real live dogs (which, as anyone can attest, takes hard work). So, if you’re looking for a more modernised musical with more modern rock tunes while retaining the traditional musical serenades this summer, don’t miss out on this! It plays until August 15th, if I recall correctly, alternating nights with How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

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