As a well-connected student at UBC (you’re welcome to disagree), I have become acquainted with a number of people over the years who I might refer to as ‘informers.’ Now in my 5th year of university, I get fairly frequent bits of insider information into the secret goings-on of this campus from these informers. Today is one of those days.

This morning I was emailed by a guy I met last year at a beer garden. He’s seen my website before and told me he had something to post. He attached several photos and explained a little story, so I’ve decided to post the photos he sent me and paraphrase his email.

Essentially, someone went to the UBC Alma Mater Society (Student Government) Vice President Finance’s Office in the Student Union Building and decided to give her a birthday present. She (Sophia Haque) turned 22 on Friday, and this is what someone did:

As you can see, there is a significant quantity of aluminum foil in the office.

They covered the walls, the desk, the computer, the phone, individual books and even the thumbtacks on the bulletin board! Apparently, they also completely rotated the room, moving the desk, couch, chairs, fridge, and filing cabinet to new spots.

They even did the ceiling – the VP Finance office now looks more like the VP Interior Design office.

This note was left on the desk. It’s rather mysterious. Some of you may remember a castle appearing in AMS President Kevin Keystone’s office last February, with a large black hand painted on it (see here for the photos). Incidentally, it was the same informer who sent me those photos… coincidence? Note the plate in the upper right-hand corner with fork, knife, and spoon all individually foiled. My ‘informer’ told me there’s still old salsa and sour cream on the plate!

I’m still trying to figure out what this ‘Black Hand’ is… having checked the AMS Clubs list, I’ve decided it’s not a club. Wikipedia has a listing for it, but it takes you to the UBC page which has no mention of the Black Hand.

This leads me to believe that what I assume is some sort of organized group is trying hard to maintain its secrecy by removing all online references. Yet, having received these photos and permission to publish them, I wonder what their true intentions really are.


I’m unbelievably busy these days, hence the lack of posts. It’s funny how I don’t post much when I’m not busy, because there’s nothing to post about. Yet as soon as I become busy, I have no time or energy to post.

Well, I’ll summarize a bit what I’ve been up to:

-Working part time at the Human Security Centre, though I set my alarm to 7pm by mistake on Tuesday and slept through my 9am-12pm shift!

-World Model United Nations team: we’re going to Geneva in March, so we meet every week to prepare, though I missed the Tuesday meeting at 8am because, surprise surprise, my alarm was set for 7pm.

-AMS Elections: I was hired in late October to be UBC’s Alma Mater Society Elections Administrator, which means I’m in charge of every aspect of the student government elections being held in January. Since my position was supposed to be filled in April, I have a LOT of catching up to do. My office is still a complete mess (you should have seen it when I got here) but I can move around and I have the two computers sort of working. I slept on my office couch last night and have been here working from 9am to right now – 920pm, on a Saturday.

-School: can’t forget that I have class… I had to skip a couple yesterday but I’ve been pretty good about attendance. I love school, but it can still be hard to stay awake sometimes when I haven’t had enough sleep.

-Grad school applications: working hard to get a bunch of them ready. I found two profs willing to write reference letters, so now I need to finish my letters of intent/motivation for each one, to give to my profs before they can write their letters.

-Publishing: I’ve been trying to get my work published in undergrad journals. So far, one big success: the UC Davis International Affairs Journal sent me an email the other day – they’ll be publishing my essay on Nepal’s Maoist rebellion in their Winter 2007 Quarterly journal issue! I’m currently trying to get a couple different papers done for UBC’s Journal of International Affairs and Journal of Political Studies… not sure if I’ll have time, but hopefully I will, and hopefully my stuff will be accepted.

-Website: I’ve been running for the last few months. It’s a site dedicated to community development on campus at UBC through promotion of student-run and student-oriented social events such as beer gardens, barbeques, etc. It was originally set up by my brother Dan and some of his friends, but it was down for a while and now that it’s revived I’m running it solo. It has received a great response from students, which is good because I’m paying for it out of my own pocket and putting all the labour in for free. One happy student even offered to pay half the annual domain fee when I spoke with him recently.

-Hair: Badly needs cutting, but not too short because I’m balding in an ugly way and I don’t want it to show too much.

-Stress: Unbelievably high, resulting in mood swings of sadness and anger on a regular basis. Smiling is still easy around friends, which means all is not yet lost. I was ready to throw a phone at someone when the vending machine gave me a bottle of diet coke after I very clearly pressed a coke classic button. I did not throw a phone, but found another machine and got a real coke. I hate diet coke with a passion. I need real coke (coca cola) to survive.

-Christmas: A very long ways away, but I’m looking forward to 3-4 few days of rest and Boxing Day. My extended family always has a big Boxing Day potluck party at our house and I love playing with the little toddlers in the family. I took a photo of one of them, my cousin’s daughter Lauren, with my sister Jos in the summer of 2004 and gave this photo to my granny as a present:

-Now it’s time to think about Extended Nuclear Deterrence for a while, then head home to shower and sleep in a real bed.

AUS Whistler Retreat etc

It’s been a long time since I’ve put anything up here, owing primarily to my busy schedule but partly due to lack of interesting goings-on in my life. This past long weekend, however, I got to go up to Whistler with the Arts Undergraduate Society for a retreat. Essentially, we went up there to party and get to know each other. After all, we’ll be working together for the next 6 months!

We had a great time, stayed at the UBC AMS Whistler Lodge and had all our meals and transportation covered by the AUS. The food was plentiful and delicious and we even had a scavenger hunt in Whistler Village.

I definitely got to know my fellow AUS councilors a lot better over the weekend and had heaps of fun in the process. We definitely all owe a huge thanks to everyone who helped organize and run the retreat. In particular, AUS President Stephanie Ryan and AUS VP External Avneet Johal for really putting a tonne of effort into the whole thing. Thanks guys!



We got back to Vancouver on Sunday afternoon, and I headed out to Bowen Island a few hours later to meet up with my family. I spent the night with my window open about 20 metres away from the waves crashing on the shore below, then spent today rowing a couple times and eating massive amounts of turkey and veggies at lunch and supper before coming back to Vancouver on the 8pm ferry.

And now it’s time for bed.

Credulous hope replaced by reality

It’s been a busy couple of weeks since my last update. I won’t even try to explain what I’ve been up to, it’s just too much. I’ll put it in point form.

– Orientations, orientations, orientations
– Training, training, training
– Carrying suitcases up 4 flights of stairs for new residents
– Parties, parties, parties
– New friends
– New job
– 5 classes
– Arts Undergrad Society Elections Administrator
– Alma Mater Society councillor
– International Peer Program leader
– Not enough sleep
– Coca Cola daily
– Sadness
– Frustration / Resignation
– Rising stress levels

I need to get on my bike and go for a very, very long ride.