Paul Nyambe has gotten support from Fledge to develop his business, ZamGoat. He hopes to build a goat-meat market not only in Zambia but globally. (Jama Abdirahman)
Paul Nyambe has gotten support from Fledge to develop his business, ZamGoat. He hopes to build a goat-meat market not only in Zambia but globally. (Jama Abdirahman)

Button up shirts, wireless mikes and a puddle of spotlight. At first glance rehearsals for Fledge “Demo Day” look like any start up pitch event around town. But these entrepreneurs aren’t promoting apps and gadgets. They’re pitching businesses that will further development of their home countries — from Argentina to Zambia.

“Fledge is a business accelerator,” says Michael “Luni” Libes who founded Seattle-based Fledge three years ago to help support socially conscious start-ups, “We take applications from any entrepreneur anywhere in the world as long as they’re working on something important.”

Fledge wasn’t always as global. The first cohort was entirely American but the next had one team from Singapore and from there Libes says “It just grew.” This year Fledge had applicants from forty-five countries and all seven start-ups in this current cohort are international.

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Give SMALL to the Seattle Globalist today: http://bit.ly/givesmall2015
Give SMALL to the Seattle Globalist today: http://bit.ly/givesmall2015

If you live in Seattle, or have ever made a donation to a Seattle nonprofit, you’ve probably heard about The Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG campaign approximately 600,000 times in the past couple of weeks. (Just in case your inbox is not currently bursting with GiveBIG emails: it’s an annual, 24 hour, “day of giving” campaign in which the Seattle Foundation and its sponsors offer “stretch” funds and “golden tickets” to increase donations to close to 2,000 participating nonprofits).

This year, we’re asking you to Give SMALL to the Seattle Globalist – and become part of something big. We know there’s power in numbers, so today we want YOU more than we want your cash.

Sun as Taiga Aisaka from a light novel series Toradora!. (Photo courtesy of Martina Sun)
Sun (in the middle) as Taiga Aisaka from a light novel series Toradora!. (Photo courtesy of Martina Sun)

Spending hours on detailed costumes based on anime, movie or video game characters might seem foreign and nerdy to some, but the community of cosplay is where many who feel like outsiders find home.

Nothing is too weird in cosplay. An eighty-year-old lady can dress up as Pikachu, and that’s totally fine.

Martina Sun is a University of Washington student who studies pre-med and is a double-major in psychology and International Studies. She also works full-time in a computer gaming company. She is also a hard-core cosplayer.

Cosplay, or costume play, is a popular activity at many events and conventions in the U.S. throughout the year. Sakura-Con and Emerald City Comicon are two of the largest cosplay conventions in Seattle.

Sun designs and makes every costume she wears to a cosplay convention. The process starts half a year before a convention.

“You start planning half-a-year ago.” Sun said. “And you really don’t do anything until a week before. Then you cram everything in a day before.”

The last day before a convention is a lot of gluing and painting, and hoping that the costume dries in time. But costumes don’t dry in a day, so there’s a lot of hair dryers involved as well.

Sun got involved in cosplay a year after moving to the United States. She grew up with her grandparents in Weihai, China, until age 12, when she joined her parents in Bellevue.

Weihai, which is on the east coast of China, is heavily influenced by Japanese and Korean cultures because of its history and geographic location. But now living in a mostly white culture, Sun found anime and cosplay culture familiar. She fell in love with it right away when a friend of hers introduced it to her.

“After I joined the [anime] club, I saw how this group is completely ignored by the mainstream,” said Sun. “That’s why we need conventions to unite the small groups together. But when we were there, we feel like we were the majority.”

A cosplay convention is usually a 24-hour, three-day long event. There’s always something happening: karaoke, costume competitions, and comic book exchange. At night, participants drink and enjoy music, while in costume.

“It’s like a normal rave,” Sun said. “But when do you get to rave with anime characters like Goku?

Sun and friends dressed up as Sen and No-Face from the animated film Spirited Away. (Photo courtesy of Martina Sun)
Sun and friends dressed up as Sen and No-Face from the animated film Spirited Away. (Photo courtesy of Martina Sun)

Sun said that people used to think anime is for losers who read comic books all day, and some might still think anime lovers live in their own world. But this is definitely not the case.

“It’s not like if you watch animation, you become a loser,” said Sun. “We all have our lives, and many are successful in their own fields.”

Three weeks ago, Sun went to a convention with four of her friends: one works at Microsoft, one is a primary care physician, and the other two are lawyers.

Cosplaying is just a hobby, like hiking, skydiving or cooking.

If anything, gaming is a lot cooler than hiking!” Sun said, and paused for a second.

“I like hiking though,” she added, while laughing.

When she first started cosplay in high school, Sun used to feel the judgmental attitude from strangers when she walked on a street in her costume. But now she doesn’t care anymore, because she’s enjoying herself with friends.

“When you go to a convention, everyone is so accepting, and everybody feels like a family member to you,” Sun said.

A contract analyst and an amateur cosplay photographer Elmer Ma said seeing other people in costume makes it easier to mingle.

Because right off the bat, from visual, you’ll notice they share something with you,” Ma said.

Gaming, cosplay and anime have definitely become more mainstream. There is even a reality show on Syfy Channel about cosplay called “Heroes of Cosplay.”

“I feel like the whole ‘nerdy thing’ has changed a lot in the past few years,” said a UW costume club member Vicki Lo. “It’s a little more mainstream now.”

Lo doesn’t care if people think it’s nerdy.

“But that doesn’t stop me, ever,” she said.

Cosplay is more than dressing up as anime characters; it’s also about creating a community where everyone is accepted and welcomed.

Sun met another Tony Tony Chopper of One Piece at a convention. (Photo courtesy of Martina Sun)
Sun met another Tony Tony Chopper of One Piece at a convention. (Photo courtesy of Martina Sun)

Ma knows many of his friends who didn’t speak any English, but make friends in a cosplay convention easily.

He or she “might be having trouble talking to them, but you don’t have to be able to communicate perfectly to enjoy a hobby together,” said Ma.

“When you go to a convention, race, gender, age are not really what you see,” Sun said. “ Those are not important. When you go there, you just hang out with people who celebrate the hobby. So you don’t really judge, or even notice, their ethnicity.”

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    collaboratory2
    Seattle Globalist staffers at the Collaboratory. Top row, from left: Calendar Editor Forrest Baum, Board Treasurer Rituja Indapure, and Editor in Chief Alex Stonehill. Middle: Editor Venice Buhain, Columnist Anna Goren, KUOW’s Caroline Dodge, visiting for a meeting, and Business Development Director Emily Schulman. Right: Executive Director Jessica Partnow. (Photo by Creative Director Sarah Stuteville)

    The Seattle Globalist is expanding its offices to The Collaboratory, a coworking space and “incubator for social change” in Hillman City (just south of Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood). The Globalist will now base its operations jointly from the Collaboratory and the University of Washington’s Department of Communication.

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    Candidates for U.S. citizenship wait to be sworn in at the 28th Annual Naturalization Ceremony on July 4th at the Seattle Center.
    Candidates for U.S. citizenship wait to be sworn in at the 28th Annual Naturalization Ceremony on July 4th at the Seattle Center.

    Your stories, artwork, music or poetry about immigrating to the United States could be part of an upcoming online exhibit commemorating the Immigration Act of 1965 at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience.

    The Wing is seeking submissions for an upcoming exhibition on the Immigration Act of 1965, which abolished the United States’ immigration national origin quota policies with a system that took into account an immigrant’s skills or family relationships with existing U.S. residents and citizens. The act expanded the number of people who could immigrate to this country.

    Accepted submissions will be displayed in a digital exhibition as part of The Wing’s Immigration Exhibit, which will be online March 5, 2015, through January 2016.

    According to the call for submissions from The Wing, the museum seeks:

    “[S]ubmissions in a variety of media, including words, poetry, photographs, paintings, graphics, animation and other forms that are suitable for online display, according to a call for submissions. The submissions may range widely within the topic of immigration, such as the notion of belonging, transnational identity, green card marriages, histories of imperialism, incarceration, the model minority myth, queerness, the diaspora, technology, outsourcing, military service and mixed-status families and so much more.

    The deadline to submit is Feb. 15, 2015. Participants do not need to be of Asian Pacific American heritage. Collaborative submissions are welcome, but the Wing Luke can only accept one submission per person.

    Submissions should include:

    • The artist’s name, website and social media handles optional.
    • Visual submissions should be downloadable in 300 DPI and in JPEG (.jpg) format.
    • Text submissions should be in Word format (.doc or .docx) in 500 words or less.
    • Music and video should be in MP3 (.mp3) or movie (.mov) files, along with a Vimeo or YouTube link.

    Submissions should be sent to Minh Nguyen at minh@wingluke.org or to

    Wing Luke Museum
    Attention: Minh Nguyen
    719 S. King St.
    Seattle, WA 98104

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    The House Special Hot Soup comes with stinky tofu. (Photo by Judy Chia Hui Hsu)
    The House Special Hot Soup comes with stinky tofu. (Photo by Judy Chia Hui Hsu)

    It’s not a coincidence that some of the most popular Chinese restaurants in the Seattle area are Taiwanese. Taiwan has a reputation as one of the best food destinations in Asia. Chinese-American foodies that I know say that Taiwanese restaurants are where to go to find their Chinese food fix.

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    “It’s demanding because there’s always a bit of work to do each day,” says Lin. She spends one to two hours on her CHIN 101 coursework every day.
    “It’s demanding because there’s always a bit of work to do each day,” says Jessica Lin. She spends one to two hours on her CHIN 101 coursework every day. (Photo by Candace Kwan)

    A few months ago, before a crowd at Tsinghua University in Beijing, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke Mandarin out of nowhere, and headlines around the world hinted that he put the “rest of us to shame” by speaking fluent Chinese.

    Well, did he really?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m no hater. Zuckerberg deserves praise for being able to conduct an entire interview in a language he picked up in his late 20s. That still shouldn’t overshadow the language abilities of many other Americans.

    According to the American Community Survey, 22 percent of children aged 5 to 19 speak a language other than English at home. But that doesn’t equal literacy. For instance, I can speak Cantonese effortlessly and make my way around a tabloid magazine and a menu. But that’s as far as my fluency goes, even though I grew up in Hong Kong.

    And by no means am I alone. This seems to be the case for many Chinese Americans. The two most spoken dialects in China are Cantonese and Putonghua, also known as Mandarin. The nuances of the languages are completely different. Cantonese has eight tones, while Putonghua has four. They also use different characters in the written language. Cantonese utilizes traditional Chinese characters, while Putonghua utilizes simplified.

    While most Chinese immigrants come from places that speak Cantonese, Putonghua is more widely taught. Fluency in one dialect does not automatically transfer to another, which complicates being literate and fluent in Chinese for many Chinese Americans.

    In my case, my family returned to Hong Kong from Montana when my grandpa became ill. We thought it would be a temporary move.

    I enrolled in an international school, where three out of 20 students spoke Cantonese. The only kind of formal Chinese education I received was optional after-school Putonghua lessons.

    By the time I transferred out of the international school system in favor of a local, all-girls Catholic high school, there was no way I would be able to catch up to the local Chinese curriculum. I took French instead.

    As much as it pains me to admit this, I’m Chinese illiterate.

    In a nutshell, I’m an “ABC” (American-born Chinese). There are worse terms for people who don’t speak the language. Some people use the term “jook-sing,” translated literally as “hollow bamboo.”

    Sometimes, terms like these motivate Chinese Americans to pick up the language later in life, especially in college.

    “I’ve never been called a ‘jook-sing’ by my family members or friends, but I’ve heard words like these thrown around a lot by others,” said Jessica Lin, a sophomore in the University of Washington Foster School of Business.

    “Cantonese is the language I use to speak with my family, and they have always been supportive. I’ve never felt pressure to learn the language, but I always wanted to take lessons.”

    Lin began taking CHIN 101. The Chinese Program, Department of Asian Languages and Literature at UW offers two separate tracks: heritage for students who speak the language at home but might not be able to read or write, and non-heritage for complete beginners.

    Even though Lin speaks Cantonese at home with her parents, grandparents and brother, she was placed in the non-heritage Chinese class. She chalks this up to not being able to speak Putonghua and not being able to write or read in Simplified Chinese characters.

    Lin plans to continue taking Chinese lessons throughout her education at the UW. (Photo by Candace Kwan)
    Lin plans to continue taking Chinese lessons throughout her education at the UW. (Photo by Candace Kwan)

    “I don’t feel that I’m learning Putonghua from scratch as my background in Cantonese helps me,” Lin said.

    Still, Cantonese and Putonghua have slightly different structures, and words that sound similar can be misleading.

    “There’s a girl in my class who speaks Cantonese too,” Lin said. “If we don’t understand something, like a term, we try to translate it into Cantonese to help each other out”.

    Nyan-Ping Bi, a Chinese instructor at the UW, said many Chinese American students get formal training in the the language before college.

    “They take classes at weekend schools, churches, K-12 levels in school etc. And of course, many Chinese Americans do speak the language at home without taking formal lessons,” Bi said.

    That was the case for UW sophomores Julie Lu and Ray Hui. They speak Cantonese at their homes, and have had less than two years of informal Chinese lessons. Both Lu and Hui also spent the summer in Hong Kong as part of a study abroad program.

    “I don’t plan to take Chinese at the UW, but that doesn’t mean I don’t actively seek out opportunities to speak the language,” Hui said.

    Julie Lu and Rayman Hui spent a month in Hong Kong, and various parts of Southern China  in the summer as part of a tour to explore their roots in China lead by UW’s American Ethnic Studies Department. (Photo courtesy of Julie Lu)
    Julie Lu and Rayman Hui spent a month in Hong Kong, and various parts of Southern China
    in the summer as part of a tour to explore their roots in China lead by UW’s American Ethnic Studies Department. (Photo courtesy of Julie Lu)

    “I didn’t have any problems in Hong Kong,” said Lu. “I understand everything that’s said in a Hong Kong TV drama, and I can have a full on conversation with someone who speaks Cantonese”.

    Hui also can hold a conversation.

    “I have an accent though, and can’t pronounce everything right,” Hui said. “It’s easy to see that I’m not from Hong Kong when I’m there.”

    While Hui may brush off mistakes with ease, it’s not so easy for me. It sounds terribly silly now, but for a while I didn’t like speaking in Cantonese because I was too worried that I would stumble on my words.

    Picking up Chinese was difficult as I only started speaking it seriously when I was 10, with a lot of trial and error. I learned how to read Chinese by paying attention to the subtitles on TV. Recognizing characters got a lot easier with time.

    I’m a junior with two majors, and I doubt I will have time to pick up Chinese lessons at UW. I’m always going to be striving to strengthen my grasp of the language, but I’m happy where I am right now.

    Ultimately, I hope to read a newspaper with ease in a few years, but until then, I won’t be giving up my ultimate guilty pleasure – reading Chinese tabloid magazines.

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      An AirAsia plane takes off on Jan. 8, 2014. (Photo by Clement Alloing via Creative Commons license.)
      An AirAsia plane takes off on Jan. 8, 2014. (Photo by Clement Alloing via Creative Commons license.)

      KIRO-TV reported Tuesday that a Shoreline family says that six of their Indonesian family members were among the passengers who were on AirAsia 8501, which crashed on Sunday.

      Jack Song of Shoreline told the TV station that his wife’s father, Soetikno Sia, and her mother, listed on the passenger manifest as Jou Christien Yuanita, were on the flight, according to the report. Traveling with them were his wife’s uncle and his family, Song said.

      Song told the TV station that his wife and her brother are hoping that AirAsia will fly them to the rest of their family in Indonesia.

      Recovery teams discovered debris from the plane and bodies of passengers on Tuesday in the Java Sea, two days after the plane disappeared from radar screens, according to news reports.

      Tony Fernandes, CEO of the Malaysia-based airline, has been on the scene and expressed his sadness over Twitter.

      Flight QZ850, which was on its way from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore, had 162 people on board, including 155 passengers and seven crew members, according to The Jakarta Post. AirAsia listed the nationalities of the passengers and crew on its Facebook page:

      Passengers: 

      1 Singapore

      1 Malaysia

      3 South Korea

      1 United Kingdom

      149 Indonesia

      Nationalities of crew:

      1 France

      6 Indonesia

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        Seattle is an ethnically, culturally, and religiously diverse city. It is home to a dozens of synagogues, mosques, minority churches, and cultural centers. But Seattle is in the grip of Christmas every holiday season.

        A giant Christmas tree towers over Westlake Center. Homes from West Seattle to Shoreline are decorated with inflatable Santas and his twinkling reindeer. Apart from a menorah thrown in here and there, most Seattleites don’t see other celebrations that take place in our city this holiday season.

        According to a study from the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project, 72 percent of Washingtonians identify with a branch of Western Christianity. Twenty-three percent do not identify with a religion at all, one of the highest percentages in the country. The remaining 5 percent identify with a variety of faiths from all over the world. This is about 350,000 people in the state of Washington, who celebrate something other than Christmas on Dec. 25. So what holidays have we missed in our Christmas monopoly?

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        Delegates from Seattle in Cuba earlier this year as part of the U.S. Women and Cuba Collaboration. (Photo by Misa Shikuma.)
        Delegates from Seattle in Cuba earlier this year as part of the U.S. Women and Cuba Collaboration. (Photo by Misa Shikuma.)

        Cindy Domingo, organizer of a Seattle delegation of women that travels every year to Cuba, said that their annual cultural exchange could look a little different after U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuba President Raul Castro have begun warming relations between the two countries.

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        https://twitter.com/ninettecheng/status/545374919010164736

        “The Interview,” a comedy about a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has been canceled by Sony Pictures on Wednesday following threats made to theaters that had been scheduled to show the film.

        The comedy, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, had been slated for  Christmas release. Major theater chains canceled the showings after a group called the “Guardians of Peace” threatened an attack on movie theaters, invoking the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to Variety.

        The threats followed a widespread hack of Sony Pictures in November, which resulted in the release of emails that embarrassed Sony executives.

        According to NPR’s The Two Way blog, U.S. investigators believe that the origin of the hack and the threats can be traced to North Korea.

        Seattle Twitter users responded to the furor around the movie over the past few days:

         

        https://twitter.com/ninettecheng/status/545374919010164736

        https://twitter.com/lukobe/status/545377591969210368

        https://twitter.com/ElCrisRod/status/545346901537595392

        https://twitter.com/manicpop/status/544927362459000832

        https://twitter.com/JoetheHammer/status/545379150572167168

        https://twitter.com/42_clifford/status/545347793242431489

         

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          Venice Buhain joins the Globalist this month as editor. (Photo by Alex Stonehill)
          Venice Buhain joins the Globalist this month as editor. (Photo by Alex Stonehill)

          We are pleased to announce that Venice Buhain has joined the Seattle Globalist team as part-time editor. Venice will work closely with Globalist contributors, Editor-in-Chief Alex Stonehill, and fellow Editor Christina Twu to increase our coverage of important local-global news.

          Venice brings more than a decade of daily journalism experience to the Globalist. She was the editor of Patch.com’s Bellevue site for the full three years it existed, and regularly covers the Washington legislative session for TVW.

          Venice loves crunching numbers, filing requests for public documents, and playing the ukelele.

          Please join me in welcoming Venice to the Globalist! You can send her your news tips, or just say “hi”, at venice[at]seattleglobalist.com.

          Venice Buhain makes Globalist history, hitting 'publish' on her first story last week. (Photo by Alex Stonehill)
          Venice makes Globalist history, hitting ‘publish’ on her first story last week. (Photo by Alex Stonehill)

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            A capoeira demonstration by the group Senzala Evry in Dammarie-les-lys, France last year. (Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen)
            (Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen)

            About this time last year, I was going to the gym relentlessly, going from cardio machine to cardio machine, counting reps, lifting weights.

            Frankly, I was bored. I was bored with the “stillness” of the movements and I’d gotten to the point where just the thought of the gym atmosphere was nauseating.

            I heard about capoeira through word of mouth and began watching a series of youtube videos to educate myself on the Afro-Brazilian martial art. The capoeiristas looked like they were dancing but fighting at the same time. They appeared to be concentrating deeply, but their movements were smooth and free.

            I had to try it for myself.

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            Join The Seattle Globalist, Crosscut, the World Affairs Council and Impact Hub Seattle for The Scenario Thursday Sept. 18th

            The Scenario is a global current events game, co-hosted by Crosscut Public Media, the World Affairs Council, Impact Hub Seattle, and the Seattle Globalist, in which issues and situations from around the world are applied as if they’re occurring right here in the Northwest.

            Join us Thursday September 18th, when we’ll tackle the challenge of climate refugees in the Pacific Northwest.

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              SaraMcCaslin
              Sara McCaslin’s last day with The Seattle Globalist will be Friday August 22nd. (Photo by Alex Stonehill)

              Next month, Seattle Globalist editor and youth program coordinator Sara McCaslin will start a new position as communication lead working on print and digital strategy with SEIU Healthcare NW Training Partnership and Health Benefits Trust.

              Sara has been with The Seattle Globalist since 2011, when she joined the team as a part-time contractor supporting Globalist youth programming. She became the organization’s first full-time employee in September 2012, when she took on editorial, youth programming, and communications roles.

              McCaslin has been a huge part of the Globalist’s early years. In today’s farewell post we’re celebrating some of her biggest contributions. We can’t fit ’em all in one post — but here are a few of our favorite things about Sara McCaslin: