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{Woman to Woman} Interview with Weiwei ( Part II )

Posted by Team MétaFormose on 作者



C.) You’ve always been a straight-A student growing up, and you graduated with top honours almost a year ago.Why did you choose to take time off school even though you could have gone to any colleges you want?

Taking time off school was really a no-brainer for me. It’s no secret to everyone around me that I am not the biggest fan of school. It’s been like this since I was little. I know it sounds strange, but I don’t understand why I have to show up at school five days a week at exactly the same time of the day performing more or less the same task. The repetitive monotony is emotionally draining. I find most lectures tedious and there is so much more I want to do with my time. In my senior year, I finally had the opportunity to have most of my courses waived and I am a much happier student for that. Originally,my post high-school plan was to take a sabbatical and study abroad (Belgium, to be more precise), which quickly fell through after the terrorist attack in Paris and subsequently in Brussels. I wasn’t prepared for this as I have been looking forward to leaving my comfort zone and being on my own for the first time in my life. My parents didn’t exactly tell me not to go, but I know it’d be tremendously selfish on my part to leave for Europe in this climate. I’m very blessed that I have very understanding and supportive parents. Growing up, they never really impose any rules on me. There are of course boundaries and they draw the line whenever they need to, but my upbringing is relatively rule-free comparing with other kids my age. They’d offer me advices but they don’t make decisions for me.

D.) I can relate to your frustration with schools,or institutions for that matter. I gave the same answer whenever people ask me why I started my own business in a field I knew nothing about, and they’d look at me as if I’m crazy. For me, quitting my 9-5 job wasn’t difficult at all, dealing with the reaction of the people around me was a lot more challenging. You’re very lucky that you have supportive parents so that you can tackle the task at hand 100%, which brings me to my next question. Aftre your plan fell through, how did the idea of working as a programmer come about? Was it an easy transition for you, emotionally?

I was a miserable mess after I found out I couldn’t go. For the first time in my life, I was going through what now looks like major existential crises. It suddenly dawned on me that I have no legitimate role to play in my life and that I no longer have a fall-back option. I knew that I needed to find a purpose for myself, and I’ve been teaching myself programming for quite some time up to that point. I thought, why not give it a try and the rest is history.

E.) Do you ever revisit your decision, do you look at your school friends, the lives they have now, and have FOMO? (fear of missing out.)

I’m fully aware of the fact that I’m missing out on the typical college social scene, but I also know that’s not something I’m looking for. In a way, I’m actually relieved that I get to socialize on my own terms. There was no pressure for me to conform or to behave a certain way just because I’m at that age. So far, I’m pretty happy with my decision, which I think is the best arrangement for me at this point. What the future holds for me is beyond my control. I try to live in the present.  


F.) Tell us how do you go about scoring your first gig as a programmer and as a French tutor, considering your young age and lack of experience, what’s the process like ? Can you walk us through a typical work-day?

I consider myself extremely lucky in that my family knows quite a lot of people.My parents helped spreading the words within their circle of friends. It didn’t take long for me to get offers. Considering that I have nothing to show for on my CV and my age, I knew that I had to work harder to prove to my employer that I am capable of getting the job done. My very first group of students are twice my age, and in a hierarchical society such as ours, a lot of questions were raised concerning my legitimacy as a working professional, but it doesn’t bother me that I have to work harder to convince people that I’m capable of bringing something to the table, and as a teacher, I had credibility and authority in class. All my work opportunities come about quite organically, meaning that most of them came to me because they had heard about me from their friend or friend of a friend.Juggling two jobs and my personal life definitely isn’t easy, a lot of it comes down to discipline,discipline,discipline. To maintain a good work/life balance, I’ve developped a routine and establish some rules. I work 5-6 hours a day for 6 days a week and I only take one programming project at a time so I don’t get overwhelmed with work. If I don’t have tutoring classes, I get out of the house midday and work in a cafe, which I find relaxing enough for me to work but not too relaxed that I cannot get the job done. I also take dancing lessons once a week, and I still practice cello and read as much as I can in my free time.  


To be continued. (The last part of this interview will be available online next Wednesday.)




新世代創新力襲來! 深受數位科技文化洗禮的八年級生世代, 透過接觸數位世界而產生新世代不同的觀點, 創造自身不同的未來。繼上週的{MetaFormose x 惟惟專訪Part1},這週的Part2 將深入了解資優生惟惟在人生的轉捩點如何做出如此”反骨”的決定?



Q:一般人的觀念是:讀完高中就是要上大學。台灣傳統的觀念也帶給我們沒有上大學會沒有好工作的迷思,但是惟惟在校成績向來優異(資優班),為何選擇不繼續升學? 爸媽對於妳選擇這條路有無任何意見?


A:事實上,原本的打算是休息一年準備到比利時唸書(高等教育免費,只要有相等學歷並且申請成功且通過語言能力測驗即可入學), 我的法文測驗已達到申請學校要求的級數, 也有準備學測要用台灣的大學入學證明申請。但因為政治情勢(連環恐攻)而作罷,雖然父母沒有禁止我去,但我不想當一個自私的孩子給他們帶來不必要的擔憂。在我的成長過程當中, 我的爸媽一直扮演著支持者跟陪伴者的角色,他們會適時地給我建議, 但絕對尊重我的決定(不管他們認不認同我的決定),這點跟我身邊的同齡朋友教育方式有很大的不同


確定無法成行後, 我歷經了一段短暫的低潮,人生第一次深刻體驗到存在感危機覺得突然之間好像沒有正當身分可以扮演了,也沒有退路這個強大的存在感危機讓我不得不在短時間內做出決策找到自己的purpose。畢竟跟同儕選擇不一樣的決定,總會有些不安,但我始終認為自己不是個適合台灣教育體制的人,我不喜歡,或者說我不甘願被課程、考試、成績束縛。從小就是一個不喜歡上學的學生, 我喜歡學習, 但學校有太多框架限制, 我無法用我想要的學習方式去汲取知識。我在高三時用學校成績來申請免修學分,多出的時間讓我能夠做更自由更有效率的分配,運用時間做我自己想做的事情,像是學習語文或是增進我程式寫作方面的能力。我認為能夠規劃自己的時間才能夠學到我真正想學到的事物。大部份的人認為上大學是為了有好工作,對我來說這是一種壓力性的學習 。我想先挑戰職場以及自己的能耐, 日後要回學校也不遲。





A: 我知道我做了這個抉擇是有得失的。我的19歲跟大家的19歲過的很不一樣。




Q:工作上是否有因為年紀小缺乏經驗而受到歧視? (畢竟東亞文化有根深蒂固的階級觀念) 工作呢?可以跟大家談一下工作模式嗎?


A:我認為我算是蠻幸運的,家人人脈蠻廣,所以剛開始的工作機會來源通常來自於家人的朋友圈,但剛開始,因為年紀輕又沒經驗常常得花一番心力來說服僱主我的能力,雖然得加倍努力的去證明自己,但我覺得這種對我能力提出的質疑都是健康的,談不上歧視,雇主要求的是我能達到他/她的要求,我工作就算完成了,並沒有因為年紀輕沒經驗而被為難。我現在接程式案子的模式是一次只接一個案,能專注進行,增加整體的完整性,達到自己及雇主的要求。加上家教,一週工作六天,平均每天工作5-6小時, 通常沒有家教的課當天中午之後都會去咖啡廳,讓自己能夠在舒適的環境下工作提高效力,一周會給自己休假一天,做自己喜歡的事情(學習阿根廷舞蹈ING)。

我覺得紀律是我兼顧生活跟工作很重要的一個特質 我很滿意現在的生活,能規律又逐步達成我的計畫,做自己想做的事情,實現自己的目標。












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{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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