Intro post (In-Depth)

Well, after thinking about what I’m going to do for my In-Depth project for a long while, I’ve decided to do……..COOKING, but not just regular cooking, I plan on doing gluten-free and mostly vegan cooking.

Why? Because I have allergies to many standard ingredients like gluten and dairy. The reason I will be cooking mostly vegan foods is because I’m not actually allergic to meat nor am I vegetarian. This means in some hot dishes I might add some meat to spice up the flavor (don’t worry, I will use my brain and won’t start adding meat to everything). The biggest reason I want to do this as my in-depth project is because it is very hard to cook for me (you can imagine as I am allergic to practically everything in a standard slice of bread). I want to start cooking for myself, and this will also help me in the future as I will have to cook for myself when I no longer live with my parents. Also I just want to learn how to cook, as my cooking skills are not the greatest right now.

My current plan is to first learn basic skills of cooking through my mom and the Foods 9 course I will take in a couple of weeks, after a few weeks of learning, I will begin to start baking, and maybe try some hot/cold dishes. My goal is to cook at least once a week (most likely on Sundays) Even if I fail at cooking the first few dishes, I will probably learn something from it, so it won’t be a total loss. After I start to see some success, I will move up the recipe difficulties. I also have a few goal dates:

Jan 18 – Start learning basic cooking skills as well as baking skills (watching others cooking, helping others cook)

Feb 8 – Continue baking and learning skills

Mar 1 – Start cooking on the stove top (hot and cold dishes)/ continue baking

April – Get some experience in cooking and be decent at stove top cooking and baking.

May – Start working on In-Depth presentation as well as continue cooking harder recipes

May 25 – Present! (Bring food samples)

I will have many mentors over the course of this project. My mentors at my house include my mom and my sister. My mentor at school is the Foods 9 teacher (although she will mainly just be teaching the class). My main mentor will be Joyce Zhan, my sister’s friend from university who has experience with cooking and gluten-free meals. I will also utilize resources on the internet. I’m sure that I will find more mentors throughout the project.

Well thanks for reading my intro post for my In-Depth project. I will definitely have lots of fun with this project and it will be a wonderful learning experience.  Stay tuned for more cooking posts! (Coming soon)


My Attempts to get an Interview

Well I have to say the most difficult thing in the eminent study was the interview. I tried to attain an interview multiple times with multiple people. So let me show you my attempts to get this interview, in the order I sent the messages.

1st attempt:                                                                                                                             I found a professor that wrote a book about Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle’s relationship. The Wikipedia article claimed that he worked at the University of Paris, but as I emailed them with this message:

“Hi, I’m Kevin Fang from Gleneagle Secondary School and I’m doing a project on Charles de Gaulle. I was wondering if you could give me the email of François Kersaudy, who I believe is a historian and a professor of English, so that I may perhaps ask him a couple of questions to find out more about Charles de Gaulle.
Thank you for your time.”

They responded with :

“Dear Kevin,
Mr. Kersaudy is teaching at Panthéon-Sorbonne University (Paris 1), not Paris-Sorbonne University.
I invite you to reach out with Paris 1 :
I wish you best of luck with your project.
Kind regards”

Once I took a look at the new university website, I realized that it was in french, and there was no English website; so I gave up the chase.

2nd attempt: After doing some more research, I found the email of a professor studying Charles de Gaulle. But after emailing him, it turns out that the email that I found was deactivated and that there was no forwarding address. The trail went cold from there and I moved on to different people.

3rd attempt: This time I tracked down a professor working at UBC. UBC’s website said that he has historical perspectives on the 19th century and had expertise in WW2 Japanese/Chinese activities. So I figured if he had done both of these things he could answer a few questions for me about Charles de Gaulle. My email to him:

“Hi Mr. Brook. My name is Kevin Fang and I am currently doing a project on Charles de Gaulle. He is a very intresting man who is a great french leader. I was wondering if you could answer a few questions of mine about the French army in World War 2. This insight would be incredibly helpful to me and I would appreciate it very much.

Thank you.”

He responded with:

“Dear Kevin,

I am a historian of China. You really need to ask someone who works on France.

Tim Brook”

At which I requested that he might introduce me to some colleges that would better answer my questions. This was over a week ago, he hasn’t responded back. So I went looking for someone else to interview.

4th attempt: Last week, I found Mr. Robert Tombs, a professor of 19th century french political history working at Cambridge University. I emailed him this:

“Hi Mr. Tombs, I’m Kevin Fang and I’m currently doing a research project on Charles de Gaulle. Since you have expertise in 19th century French Politics, I was wondering if you could answer some questions of mine about Charles de Gaulle’s early life and his rise to fame. This insight would be incredibly helpful to me and I would appreciate it very much.

Thank you for your time.”

And he responded with this:

“I might be able to help.  What research are you doing?”

I was in hope! I emailed him 2 days ago with my questions:

“I am currently researching Charles de Gaulles political views and actions. I have attached a list of questions down below. Please answer as many questions as you can. If it’s outside your knowledge,it is 100% ok with me if you leave it blank. Thank you again for all your help.

1. How where Charles de Gaulle’s feelings towards the British in his early life? (I know he had rocky relationships with the British during WW2)

2. How did other political leaders feel about Charles de Gaulle during WW2?

3. Why did Charles de Gaulle decide to join the army?

4. What are your feelings about Charles de Gaulle’s achievements?

5. Why was Charles de Gaulle so independent from other countries?

6. Did Charles de Gaulle’s behavior change the way other political leaders looked at France?

7. Would you say that Charles de Gaulle made a big difference in how France is now?

8. Any final comments on Charles de Gaulle’s childhood or anything related to his politic career?

Thank you for your time, this will help me greatly in my project.”

To which he hasn’t responded to me yet, and now that this project is due, there is very little chance he will contact me tonight.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my story of how I tried to get an interview. Despite the fact that I was unable to obtain an interview in the end, I feel that I have learned a lot from this experience. Some things that I have learned are: Because most professors are busy with their own work, if you show that you don’t show enough understanding of your topic/did enough research, they will generally ignore you. (Which is what I think happened between me and Mr. Brooks). Also, if you bombard them with too many questions and they have no time to answer them, they won’t answer them. (Which is what I think happened between me and Mr. Tombs). I will now be able to put my new-found knowledge into my environmental issues study.





1. For a detailed article about Charles de Gaulles entire life, from his childhood, to his death, and everything in between, check out the link here

2. I used this link the the Free French army Wikipedia page that I used as one of the units someone could join in my learning center. It contains everything about the Free French army. (Also has information on Charles de Gaulle). Click here

3. The second unit that someone could join at my learning center. This link is a Wikipedia article about what the French First Army did in its history. Click here

4. Another link that I used as one of the units someone could join in my learning center. This time the article is about the French 2nd Armored Division. Click here

5. This article was used by me when researching for my speech. It documents the shaky relationship between Charles de Gaulle and Winston Churchill. Click here

6. The second of the three articles I used in the research of my speech. Basically the same information as the link above, I used this one to match up facts. Click here

7. The last article I used in my research of my speech. Again, it contains most of the same information as the previous two articles, as I used these three links to match up facts. Click here

8. I used this link in my powerpoint in my learning center. It contains 10 different intresting facts about Charles de Gaulle, including the legacy he left behind. Click here



Learning center

Well now that Night of the Notables is over, its time to relfect on how the night went. First off, with my learning center.

My learning center, Photo credits : TALONS Flickr

My idea for my learning center came from de Gaulle’s military past. I set up my center like a wartime recruitment office, with the poster hanging to the right of my head. I also had my laptop running a 9 slide power point displaying all Charles de Gaulle’s achievements before 1944. The three pieces of paper you can see to the right of my laptop are short paragraphs about the military units one could join; with one being related to Charles de Gaulle and two other units. After a unit was chosen, I proceeded to explain what happened to Charles de Gaulle after World War ll, as I had been posing as an officer in 1944. I felt that my learning center had a good hook (The Uncle Sam recruitment poster), an interactive section (I had people choose what unit they wanted to be in, the handed out the badges of the different units they had chosen), and a good amount of information (I explained most of it, but the power point contained Charles de Gaulle’s achievements). One thing I wish I had done though was to have practiced what I was going to say before hand, I actually winged what I said about de Gaulle of my memory, and unfortunately got a fact wrong even though it was displaying on my power point (The power point said de Gaulle made five escape attempts, I said he made 4). Using these experiences, I will definitely be more prepared next year.

I think the thing that I will remember the most about Night of the Notables is how tired I felt after it was over. It felt exactly like a sugar crash, despite the fact that I had very little sugar during the night. Overall, the night was a great experience as I was able to see what my classmates have been working on for the past month. The grade 10 speeches were also amazing, the amount of effort put into them really showed that night. So far, Night of the Notables has definitely been the highlight of TALONS, and I can’t wait for it next year.

Finally, Night of the Notables could not have been done without the planning the grade 9s put into the event. They brought the food needed for the guests, and also planned everything out in a much shorter timeline. I would also like to thank the teachers and parents for their guidance through all these months. Without any of these people, Night of the Notables would not have been this successful.

I’m happy to say that I have met my goals for this project. I have become more confident in public speaking and also I know much more about Charles de Gaulle then when I first read that Wikipedia article a month ago. The eminent person project has been one of the best parts of TALONS so far, and although I was a little overwhelmed at first, I now look forward to doing it next year.


Document of Learning- Good Copy of Speech

I learned a lot just from researching for my speech. This was the final copy of my speech from the view of Winston Churchill that I read out in front of the class. Being first, I was extremely nervous. But, as I started my speech, I became more and more comfortable, as I knew that I had practiced my speech and that no one was going to judge it.I felt like I really got in the groove, and I realized that I wasn’t even nervous toward the end of my speech. After my speech, I felt as if a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.

Notes for Speech

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a pleasure to be in front of you today.

I, Winston Churchill, had an interesting relationship with Charles de Gaulle. This was an ordinary man who rose through the military, and with my support, became the leader of the French people. How did this happen? Well let me tell you what happened in world war two that lead to him becoming the president after the war. Everyone knows that World War 2 was fought against Hitler, but what they don’t know is that, the second biggest conflict was between me, Charles de Gaulle, and Franklin Roosevelt, the American president. While I must admit, the treatment de Gaulle received from Roosevelt and I was not phenomenal; I still respect and admire him very much. Despite our conflict, our main goal was achieved, liberating Europe from Hitler and the Nazis, and I have to thank him for showing the amount of leadership to unite the French people even when France was broken and devastated.

Middle 1 (Before 1939-1942ish): At the beginning of the war, I hadn’t even heard of the name Charles de Gaulle. I first met him in 1940, when the prime minister of France sent him to request the full might of my air force. What kind of idiot did they think I was? I was not about to send the full might of my air force to a doomed country! Despite knowing that the French president would be disappointed, De Gaulle still vocally approved of my decision as he was leaving. I was impressed by him as he was a welcome contrast to other members of the French government, who wanted an armistice with the Germans and claimed that England would have her neck rung like a chicken within weeks! As if I would let that happen! De Gaulle and I both tried to strengthen the French government and army weeks before it fell. After collaboration with the Germans was inevitable, I flew de Gaulle out to England and officially recognized him as the leader of the free Frenchmen, I even gave him a chance to broadcast to occupied France through the BBC.

Middle 2 (Late war time) Later in 1941, I spoke with the government of Vichy (the unoccupied remainder of France that was collaborating with the Nazis). I realized that they had no intention of joining the fight. So I turned to de Gaulle and we decided on a joint British and free French invasion of the Vichy controlled countries of Syria and Lebanon. For some reason, after the successful invasion, de Gaulle believed that I had double crossed him because he thought I had secret designs on French territories in the Middle East. I have no idea why he would think that. This lead to our first argument, although we quickly managed to resolve our differences by the end of the year. Another fortunate event, well, for us anyways… so another fortunate event that happened during that time was that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and brought the Americans into the war. The president of the United States, Roosevelt, largely ignored de Gaulle, going so far as to keep the information for the Normandy Landings, among other important plans from him. Needless to say, De Gaulle was not a fan of being told about top secret plans the day before they were executed. Roosevelt even tried replacing de Gaulle with a French General Named Henri Giraud, which I was heavily against. He eventually realized that de Gaulle was needed to unite the Free French and the former Vichy forces.

Middle 3 (D-day to end of war) Both Roosevelt and I tried to arrange a fake “wedding” with de Gaulle and Giraud in 1943, mainly to please the press. Also we had the intent of them sharing the power between themselves. This is when my relationship with de Gaulle reached its lowest point in the war. He denied my request to attend the “wedding”, YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE HOW AnGRY I WAS AT HIM. When we got back to England, I gave the orders that de Gaulle was not to leave this country and stir up trouble abroad. I couldn’t believe it, I had raised de Gaulle as a pup…now he bit the hand that fed him. Despite this, my feelings were nowhere near what the American president was feeling, I found myself as the middleman. On one hand, I was furious at the damage de Gaulle was doing to my relationship with Roosevelt, at the other hand; I understood that de Gaulle was the one French leader who stood unequivocally against Hitler.

As the Normandy landings passed and the outcome of the War became more evident, there were more occasions of warmth and mutual admiration between me and de Gaulle. Near the end of the War, de Gaulle gave many speeches thanking Britain and me for all our help. I now quote from him: “It is true that we would not have seen [the liberation] if our old and gallant ally England, and all the British dominions under precisely the impulsion and inspiration of those we are honoring today, had not deployed the extraordinary determination to win, and that magnificent courage which saved the freedom of the world. There is no French man or woman who is not touched to the depths of their hearts and souls by this”. When I think of the heartfelt thanks de Gaulle gave me in one of our last meetings of the war, I still tear up. I thank the heavens that have allowed me to meet such a great man. I hope that the allies, France, Britain, and America will always work together in harmony, and in peace.

As you can see from the speech, Charles de Gaulle was not very well liked among his peers. Namely Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. He was someone that had to be dealt with because to make enemies with him was to make enemies with all of France, and that wouldn’t be a very good thing. Well through researching for my speech, I learned even more about Charles de Gaulle’s relationships, and I’ll definitely think about it when I’m working on my learning center.

SFU library trip

First, I would like to start off by saying wow, that library was huge! 7 Floors filled with shelves of books twice as tall as i am!

The 4th floor of the library

When I arrived at SFU aboard a school bus, my first impression was “That’s  a lot of concrete”. It turns out, the person who designed SFU loved working with concrete.  Considering the entire university was built out of concrete, it actually looked quite good, especially with the vegetation planted everywhere. Even with all this vegetation, SFU still seemed grey and gloomy, and this impression was not changed when I saw all the university students walking around like zombies.

Right before the PM TALONS class got into the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, we spent 10 minutes observing SFU by ourselves. I took a look at the poster board that i was next to, and was surprised to find a poster displaying all the sports that one can do at SFU.

Look at all these sports!

The Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology was filled with interesting artifacts. There were stuffed animals that were made from real pelts and skin. There was also many first nations artifacts that ranged from weapons to clothing. My favourite display however, was a tree i saw during a slideshow.

The best tree ever
The best tree ever

After the museum, the entire TALONS class  went to the Himalayan Peak restaurant for an all you can eat lunch. There weren’t too many choices, but the choices they did have were GOOD. Because it was an all you can eat, many people went for seconds and even thirds.  (Fun Fact: A friend of mine who goes to SFU said to me that he went to the same restaurant that afternoon, but he said the food wasn’t as good as usual. I jokingly said that we probably ate all the restaurants good food)

After lunch, we had a short tour of the campus, where no less than 8 different people used my umbrella. during that time. Then it was time to do some research in the library! I had to take a couple of minutes to get used to how the library worked, and to find the book I was looking for. Once i got the book, I sat down in a desk to start reading.  What i found out about my eminent  person Charles de Gaulle was that there was way more to his life than I thought in my introductory post. Now that I know there is that much more to de Gaulle’s life, I will research his life more thoroughly to get all the details.

My overall theme for the SFU trip would have to be “Discovery”. Why? Because it opened my eyes to not only my eminent persons life, but to life in university as well. The museum was full of information that I discovered as I toured it. I also discovered how big SFU’s library really was compared to the Coquitlam Public Library. Overall, the SFU trip was a key component to my eminent person research, and now I will bring that knowledge to my Night of the Notables presentation.

Eminent person – Charles de Gaulle

Charles de Gaulle in World War 2, Photo credits : Wikipedia

Charles de Gaulle was an extremely important part of French culture and was  a French General,  the leader of the Free French Forces, the chairman of the Provisional Government of the French Republic, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defence, the Minister of the Algerian Affairs, and was even the french president from 1959 to 1969. (In that order) Not only has he been awarded with hundreds of medals and awards from France and many other countries, de Gaulle is also held as the second best French president ever, just behind François Mitterrand.  Although Charles de Gaulle did not have strong relations with many world leaders, such as: Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Harry Truman,  Franklin Roosevelt, and Pierre Trudeau, 63 present or former heads of state were among those at his funeral.

Charles de Gaulle was born in 1890 to a patriotic and Catholic family and was well-educated. Even during his childhood, he dreamed of being a military leader, and in 1909, de Gaulle enrolled at Saint-Cyr, France’s highest military academy.  After graduating in 1912, he joined an infantry regiment serving as a lieutenant. Around this time, World War 1 broke out between several European countries, and de Gaulle found himself in active service fighting against the Germans.

During World War 1,  de Gaulle was wounded twice early in the war, and received a medal for his actions. Soon after he was promoted to captain, de Gaulle fought in the Battle of Verdun in 1916, one of World War 1’s most infamous and deadly battles. As a result, he was wounded and taken prisoner by the Germans. De Gaulle was freed at the end of the war despite numerous failed escape attempts. Once World War 1 finished, de Gaulle wrote about a number of military issues in his books. Among these books, de Gaulle made suggestions for creating a better army, most of which were ignored by top French military officials.  The Germans though, followed some of de Gaulle’s recommendations, which proved to be very effective in World War 2.

At the time when World War 2 broke out, de Gaulle was leading a tank brigade. Quickly rising up to ranks to the brigadier general of the 4th Armored Division in May of 1940, de Gaulle then became the undersecretary for defense and war that June. After escaping to England, he became the leader of the Free French movement, and with the support of the British prime minister Winston Churchill, he broadcasted messages to his countrymen in France, urging them to resist the German occupation. De Gaulle became the president of France’s provisional government in 1944, but resigned shortly after due to a dispute over greater power for the country’s executive branch.

Despite resigning from politics over 10 years ago, de Gaulle once again returned to public service, establishing France’s next government and becoming is president in 1959. De Gaulle successfully pushed his country to continue its nuclear weapons program due to his concerns with the western nations as well as the Soviet Union. De Gaulle also supported the idea of a united Europe, but also fought to keep Britain out of the European Economic Community  because of its close relationship to the United States. Eventually, de Gaulle resigned in 1969, partially due to the student and worker protests a year earlier. This was his last connection to politics, and lived a quiet and peaceful life until his death in 1980. He was 80.

Charles de Gaulle in 1961, Photo credits : Wikipedia

Charles de Gaulle and I don’t really have the most in common with each other on the surface. I mean sure, we’re both male and straight, but that’s about it. de Gaulle is Christian while I’m not, he is white while I am Asian. What we do have in common though, is that we both share and interest in the military during our childhood. Even when i was in elementary school, I was looking at military equipment like jets, ships, and tanks. Unlike de Gaulle however, I am not aiming for a career in the military. Much of de Gaulle’s interest for the military is because he grew up in an environment when wars were a common threat and because I grew up in a generally peaceful environment, I don’t have his passion for revenge against the people who embarrassed his country. (Which is definitely a good thing)

Charles de Gaulle had the easiest route in life by being male, white, hextrosexual, and christian. I’m not saying that it was easy achieving what achieved, and it definitely wasn’t, I’m just saying that compared to someone who maybe was African, Asian, homosexual, or female,  it would have been a way harder task for sure. I hope to bring his story to life by emphasizing his claim to fame. Through the eminent person project, I hope to discover more about Charles de Gaulle’s life and to find out more about what we have in common. Also, it won’t hurt to improve my public speaking skills, research skills, and interviewing skills.