Dr.Ming Wang’s “From Darkness to Sight” Presentation

Melissa Farmer

 

On Oct. 22, Dr. Ming Wang came to Volunteer State Community College to give a presentation called “From Darkness to Sight.”

Wang has published at least eight textbooks that are used for students to study the eye and the science behind it. Wang does surgeries for people that help them get rid of their glasses permanently. People who could not see without a heavy prescription could see after Wang performed a surgery for them.

Wang has performed on many optometrists so that they can continue on with their practice. He is well known all over the world for his Eye “Ball” that he holds each year where ball room dancing is the main event.  

The presentation talked about how he was born and raised in China. Dr. Wang said he wants to help blind, orphaned children. He spoke of how he wants to encourage children young people to work harder. He wrote a book, and all of the proceeds of the book go to a foundation.

Dr. Wang grew up with an atheist family, who put a strong emphasis on education. Disaster occurred in 1966-1976. There was a massive deportation of junior and senior high graduates. The dictator did this so that he could continue dictating in China without any upraises or riots.

The children who were deported were condemned of a lifetime of poverty and hard labor. Any of the children that escaped would be jailed or killed. There was no option for the children to continue on with the education.

By keeping the next generation ignorant, they wouldn’t have the possibility of an uprising. Students in America get lucky enough to study for as long as they want. There is an infinite amount of knowledge available. For the children there was only one kind of exemption, if you could play an instrument or if you can dance, they wouldn’t send you to the fields to work. Wang picked up an instrument.

Eventually, the government saw that children were learning music to avoid being sent away and put an end to the music.  Wang began to pick up dancing in an effort to avoid being sentenced to a life of poverty. When he thought all hope was lost something good happened. In 1976 the dictator died and China reopened colleges. Wang skipped three years and started the 12th grade the very next day. Only 12 grade graduates will be allowed to participate in the college examination and they had to be in the top one or two percent to be permitted into college.

“Here in America we sometimes take freedom for granted. We think ‘freedom is here, freedom will be here tomorrow,’” said Dr. Wang.

Dr. Wang said if his father wouldn’t have pushed him into college that year, then they didn’t know what the next year would hold. They could shut down colleges at any moment.

“Freedom is what is most precious about America,” said Wang. We often take things for granted because we truly can’t imagine what it is like to not have freedom.

Halloween Party Preview

Halloween Party Preview

Barbara Harmon// Staff Writer

Volunteer State Community College will be having a Halloween Party Oct. 30, at 6:00 p. m., in the Tiled Dining Room.

“Student Life and Diversity Initiatives is paying for food and we are hosting it as our family event for October,” said Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities for Student Life and Diversity Initiatives

“Artisans Alliance is going to do pumpkin painting,” said Sherrell. “And the International Student Association (Visa) is going to do the costume contest.”

Sherrell also said the cheerleaders at VSCC are going to be running the spider ring-toss game and corn hole, and the Veterans Club is going to have a photo booth to take pictures and print out 4×6 photos.

“Those photos can be taken to the foam picture frame making station that RSO will be running,” said Sherrell.

Sherrell said SLDI would be having a superhero-themed coloring contest.

[The contestants] will be given a flier for homecoming, where all their cute superhero colored pages will be displayed in the hallway. They will announce the winner of the contest at homecoming, and the winner will need to be present to receive their prize,” said Sherrell. The Prize will be movie tickets.

The food at the Halloween party will consist of pizza, chips and dip, Halloween punch, and cookies.

“Every station is going to have candy, so it will also be like trick-or-treating,” said Sherrell.

Only about 20 children attended last year’s event, but Sherrell said she is hoping for at least 50 children this year.

“I’m hoping since Student Life is trying this family friendly series; I’m hoping that helps,” said Sherrell.

This is a community event so anyone is welcome to attend, she said.

Brittany Villa, president of RSO, has been making the fliers and as well as the decorative, plywood frame with holes to have your picture made in.

“The Returning Students Organization has put a lot of effort into making the fliers and advertising for the party, and they are also supplying the games for each station,” said Sherrell.

Villa said she just wants people to come out.

“[People] can pick and choose which booths they want to participate in, and we are going to have music, so we can just hang out while the kids have fun,” said Villa.

She said that Artisan Alliance was able to get miniature pumpkins donated from a local church for their pumpkin painting booth.

Villa said the RSO is hoping, by making this a family event, everybody will get involved, both on campus, and in the community.

“I feel like community support, as far as school goes, is very important, and I like that we have the capability to make it something cool,” said Villa.

Jesse Versage, president of the Student Government Association (SGA), said he wants to encourage participation at this year’s Halloween party.

“Halloween is once a year,” said Versage. “Better take advantage of it.”

Blake’s Book Bag

Blake Bouza// COntributing Writer 

 

Welcome back to The Settler’s book review. I am going to besorting what you should be reading from what you could be reading – because I care.

 

The Chronoliths by Robert Charles Wilson

 

In early 21st century Thailand, Scott is an ex-patriate slacker. Then, one day, he inadvertently witnesses an impossible event: the violent appearance of a 200-foot stone pillar in the forested interior. And the inscription chiseled into it commemorates a military victory–sixteen years in the future.

Shortly afterward, another, larger pillar arrives in the center of Bangkok-obliterating the city and killing thousands. Over the next several years, human society is transformed by these mysterious arrivals from, seemingly, our own near future. Who is the warlord “Kuin” whose victories they note?

(from goodreads.com)

 

The Review:

I wanted to love this book so much. The premise has one of the most interesting science fiction ideas I have ever heard of. An egotistical warlord sending monuments of himself back through time to commemorate his victories? Sign me up.

Unfortunately, the execution of this premise left a lot to be desired.

Seemingly more by random circumstance than by fate, Scott runs into his old college professor, Sue Chopra, after the first Chronolith touches down. Sue Chopra gets put in charge of finding a way to avoid this future fate, and Scott, a coder, gets invited to be on the team. The logic to having a cause-and-effect coder on the team seems reasonable, but Scott never really does anything.

Sue is probably my favorite character in the whole book, a gay scientist who basically believes she is the time period’s savior and may or may not be a megalomaniac because of it.

I wish we had seen the story told from her point-of-view.

What could have been a very interesting military/science novel was instead turned into an unrealistic family drama. Which can be a very effective vessel with which to tell a larger story – but none of it was believable.

Now that is not to say I did not enjoy some elements of the story. It was more the peripheral things about it I enjoyed, the social aspects the Chronoliths bring with it, specifically the generational psychology and the effect the Chronoliths have on the average person.

The book also depicts a believable future despite the speculative premise. Water shortages, new bills that are passed to combat the economic collapse in America after Asia is thrown into turmoil. Little things that are mentioned in passing that lend to the greater story.

So on the grander scale, it is an interesting story if a bit dry. It is not the best character story I have ever read, and it did not need to be – but it left a lot to be desired.

2 out of 5 stars.

Annual Faculty Art Show Ending Soon

Barbara Harmon// Staff Writer 

 

The Volunteer State Community College Annual Art Faculty Exhibit in the Ramer will last until Oct. 9, in the Ramer Building and Thigpen Library.

There is still time for students to observe that their teachers are working from experience.

Nathaniel Smyth, Art Faculty, has digital art on display in the Ramer building.

Smyth said that these images are actually 100-250 images within these pictures.

“I’m usually surprised at the figure that emerges in the end. They feel to me like a kind of archetype in the end,” said Smyth.

He said that even if those who view his art do not understand what goes into making digital art, he hopes they have that same thought upon looking at it.

Smyth said he started working with digital art in 2001 and learned the basics from a course he took, but taught himself after that.

“Digital art is still a new and strange field. There are a lot of different approaches people take with it, but some of the most interesting work is when the artists embrace the medium and work in some way with data or external information, using the computer to process it in ways that can’t really be done in an analog fashion,” said Smyth.

He said people are surprised that he does not consider himself a very creative person.

“I’m always right in the middle on those tests that tell you if you’re left-brained or right-brained,” said Smyth.

He does not believe that art is just about creativeness by itself.

“Creativity alone is confusing and mostly uninteresting, it takes a balance of creativity and focus to really make interesting things that people will be interested in. Usually, the stuff I want to make, what I like about it, is that it reveals something to me that I didn’t know or expect,” said Smyth.

He said his art has most frequently been shown in Chicago, Ohio and Texas.

Holly Nimmo, Public Relations Receptionist, said she has heard several people comment about looking at Smyth’s images.

She said they might view one and feel frightened, but move to the next and feel comforted.

“People perceive and experience the process differently,” said Nimmo.

She said that she was surprised to learn that Smyth’s digital image of Jesus was more than 200 images layered on top of each other.

“He is studying how people perceive deities that they have never seen,” said Nimmo.

She said she herself did some research on the other deities that she was not familiar with and said Smyth’s work is not the only subject of several people’s discussions she said.

“There were several people that came through the Great Hall that really enjoyed Claire Hampton’s painting of the hill at the quarry and have commented about how it is more intact than it is now,” said Nimmo.

She said that many people who are familiar with that area enjoy observing Hampton’s “Station Camp Quarry 3” (oil on canvas).

“It reminds me of how the landscape looked in that area, when I was attending school at Vol State,” said Nimmo.

Laura Black, Department Chair of English Faculty, is purchasing this painting and was familiar with Claire Hampton, but said she had not seen this painting until the show.

“When I first saw the painting, I was emotionally overcome by the subject because I recognized it as Pilot Knob or at least what’s left of it.

“Claire Hampton’s work is one of Ecofeminism in that it makes an argument about the destruction of the natural environment, generally the result of patriarchal forces,” said Black.

She said that upon viewing this painting, memories of it from her childhood resurfaced. Being a native of Gallatin she said she has seen Pilot Knob gradually mined away.

She said she still travels by this area when she visits her parents.

“I pass the quarry from 386 each Sunday as it is represented in the painting, and seeing it, in real life and in the painting, fills me with a sense of loss thinking about the scarring of the environment, the change over time. The subject of the image brings me sadness, but the light in the painting is warming,” said Black.

She said she will display the painting where she can get enjoyment from it everyday.

“It was strange to purchase it for me.  I don’t know if I believe that anyone can ‘own’ art.

Like the use of land, we can only be stewards of it.  I’m thrilled to be its steward,” said Black.

 

Lady Pioneers to Host Fall Scrimmage

Abby Brogden// Staff Writer

 

On Saturday Oct. 10, the Volunteer State Community College Lady Pioneers, or women’s basketball team, will be hosting a scrimmage against Cumberland University at 10 A.M. in the Moore Gymnasium at the Pickel Field House.

Head Coach of the team, Otis Key, is excited about the scrimmage. This will be the second time the Lady Pioneers have played Cumberland. “We played the them last year and it went pretty well. I’m expecting big things to come from this,” said Key.

The Lady Pioneers have been conditioning for the last three weeks and are eager to get a ball back into their hands for actual practice during the next week.

The team consists of seven first-time freshmen and five sophomores. “Youth and inexperience are going to be one of our main problems. Most of the girls on the court with the exception of one are freshmen.

“And that is difficult in itself because the expectation of how hard to play and learning each and every night what works and doesn’t work, just experience over all. Once we get that balance down, we should be fine,” said Key

Key is a former basketball player from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. Just after graduating from APSU, Key was a member of the Harlem Globetrotters, which is a basketball team that puts on shows to entertain with forms of stunts and tricks.

“I was very fortunate to not only be able to play the game but have to charisma to go with,” said Key

This season the Lady Pioneers will travel far and wide including to Texas, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Alabama.

“[The girls} want to play. They all come from very successful high school back grounds, very successful programs, and tough coaches. The will and the want are there so I’m just eager to see them get out there and play,” said Key.