{Woman to woman} - Interview with Weiwei (Part I) – MétaFormose

{Woman to woman} - Interview with Weiwei (Part I)

Posted by Team MétaFormose on 作者


Women to women is an ongoing blog feature where we interview interesting girls/ women around us to find inspiration and draw strength from their stories... The objective of starting “Women to Women” is,first and foremost, not to limit the conversation to “feminist issues”,but to include more voices in a debate That are too often under-represented by the mainstream media, here or elsewhere.On a more personal note, this is kind of my dream come true of doing something related to journalism. (Before starting MétaFormose, I was studying and working (albeit briefly) in the media sector.) With our first female president about to take office in a few days, I thought this is the perfect time to start.

For our first interview, we wanted to reach out to a girl whom I’ve long admired. At the tender age of 19, she is the perfect embodiment of a strong young woman of a new generation,forging her own path by experimenting with different options. Graduating from high school with top honours less than a year ago, she is now working as a freelance programmer and a French tutor.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with her for an interview. Initially we’ve only prepared a handful of questions that barely fills a page on my A4-size note pad, but over the course of a few hours, the interview turned into a much more animated discussion about work and life in general. What we ended up with is a much lengthier version of what we had in mind.(all the better!) This interview will therefore be divided into three parts, where the 2nd the final part will be available online in the next two weeks.

Her name is Weiwei, unlike most of her peers who went off to college without much of a plan for the future, Weiwei possesses a rare lucidity of where her life is going and an almost blind determination of how she is going to achieve that. In a cookie-cutter Taiwanese culture, she is without a doubt an oddity, an awe-inspiring oddity at that. I suppose she is what you might call a “wunderkind”, but that description is perhaps too reductionist or accordingly to her,just plain annoying. To me, with 12 years of age gap between us, she is pure fireworks - a rule-breaking rebel, vivaciously curious,assertive as a young working professional, and incredibly mature beyond her years.Here are some of the things we talked about.

Q1. I find it interesting that you excel both in languages and coding because to me they are two sides of the same coin. Coding serves as a language in the digital world, bringing structure and sense to how things work.Do you think that coding is an important skill to master for people of your generation, as suggested by the American mainstream media?

A1. I guess there were correlations, but that’s not why I started coding and I’m not sure if it’s for everyone. I love coding for the simple fact that I get to create something out of nothing. My very first ( albeit poor) attempt at coding is when I was 9. I set up a website using only online tutorials. It was a half-baked effort, but it felt magical to see a sequence of codes take shape on the screen. The best thing about it is that I have absolute freedom to work around it until I get it to look like what I had envisioned. The end result might be the same, but in the process I get to explore a myriad of different ways to get to that. The feeling of constantly discovering new possibilities is immensely satisfying, it empowers me to try out new codes and before you know it,a whole new world opens up and the possibilities are just endless. I wasn’t able to work on my programming skills until I was in my final year of high school when I got permission to waive most of the courses. Since I don’t have to attend classes, I had a lot of time on my hand and I decided to throw myself back into programming and I started taking on freelance project a year later.

Q2.You talked about the sense of discovery you feel while coding, that’s exactly how I feel about language as well. Learning another language gives you insight into a very different world. It is a marvelous feeling. Tell us a little bit about your love story with languages. How many langauges do you speak now, and how did it all start?

A2. It was an accident. When I was in 3rd or 4th grade, I bought three books from a book series not knowing there were more. (The book ,incidentally, is Tara Duncan, a massively popular French novel series that were first published in the early 2000s.) I read them all in one sitting,but was dismayed to find that there were more but they were not available in Chinese. I remembered writing an angry letter to the publisher demanding an explanation as to why they stop translating after the 3rd book. I never got a reply, of course, but there was nothing I can do at the time.Then when I was in 7th grade, I found out about Amazon and was ecstatic to discover the entire series were available for purchase. I begged my parents to order them from France even though I did not know a word of French at the time. The books arrived and I immediately got myself a French dictionary and I did the unthinkable. I literally looked up every word to read the book. It took me ages to get through the first page!! All of a sudden, I started teaching myself French even though that was never my intention.Little by little, I was able to read for pages without having to look things up. I’ve never looked back since.

I speak Mandarin, English, French,German,Italian,and Russian. I can also make conversations in Arabic and Greek. I taught myself most of these languages, but I did take French at Alliance Française in Taipei for a short while. (Weiwei has obtained level C1 on the DALF exam,which means she is exempt from taking language test if she wishes to enroll in any French universities.)


To be continued.


{MétaFormose x 惟惟專訪}








   A:我想還是有一定的相關性,但不是我學習程式的原因, 我也不覺得coding是每一個人都必須要有的技能。我第一次觸及程式這個領域是我九歲的時候,因為我經常玩電腦,喜歡嘗試用程式建構一些十分普遍初階的事物,經過一陣子的嘗試,漸漸能夠用程式把虛擬想像的事物架構成真,這樣的發現啟發我開始去嘗試新程式,使我開啟不同的眼界,還有無限的可能性。九歲時架設的網站雖然很不怎麼樣 ,之後也沒有很長一段時間沒有接觸寫程式。直到我高三申請免修學分,突然多出的空閒時間,我就拿來寫程式。一年之後,我就開始接一些案子。



Q:你提到了coding的樂趣在於發掘無限的可能性, 我對於語言的看法也是如此,透過一個新的語言學習, 挑戰我本身的認知 惟惟擅於許多語言,也樂於研究,對於語言的興趣是從何啟發呢?

A:小學三、四年級的時候讀了三本小說(Tara Duncan系列),但後來發現小說的續集沒有再被翻譯(為此甚至還寄了一封信去高寶出版社抱怨,但未收到回覆),發現原文是法文,產生濃厚興趣,想對語言有所瞭解,後來上國中後要求爸媽從Amazon訂購了全套十二本法文原文小說,從一開始每個單字都需要慢慢查詢,到後來可以順暢地閱讀。對於語言的興趣從閱讀生根。

我目前精通的語言有中文,英文,法文,義大利文,德文,跟俄文。略懂阿拉伯文跟希臘文。(惟惟通過DALF C1級數, 法國大學規定有該級數的證照入學時可免於法語測驗。)




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