My full name in Chinese is Tsai-Kang Wang (王在康), and Kang just means healthy in Chinese. I was born in Taipei Taiwan. I was raised there. I spent most of my adolescent years there until I was 10 years old, and I moved to Thailand then because my dad worked there. My dad’s name is Fred, my mom is Sonia, my sister is Vivian.
In Thailand I lived in Bangkok and, back to my adolescent years, I was in Taiwan mainly. I lived in an apartment. My family is pretty traditional so we have the traditional, nuclear family. You know like the standard Asian nuclear family where grandparents live in one area and then all the children lived near surrounding that area, so it’s easier to visit the elders. Occasionally, like twice or three times a week, we would visit my grandparents to have dinner together as a family. Early to about five years old I lived in my grandparents’ house due to the fact that my both my parents were working, so I usually go to school at that time.
That was until I was five and then I moved to my own house. But it’s same thing: right after school I go to my grandparents’ house and my mom would pick me up after she got off work. It’s pretty common for that to happen in Taiwan because in elementary school you have to take after school classes. At least, I took about three. So I took math, English, and Chinese after school. Sometimes schools offer it, sometimes they don’t so some people go outside of school to go to class. That’s just a routine thing in Asia. Almost every kid takes after school lessons outside of school. I remember my cousin Maggie, her after school lessons lasted until 9pm.
The basic routine of a student in Taiwan went something like this: Kindergarten was kind of like U.S.; you did nothing. Students would go to class, and sleep, and eat and then you get sent home. when I was in elementary school, I went to school at like six in the morning which generally lasted until, like, seven at night. Then I would go to my grandparents’ house to have dinners and do some homework until about eight. After that my mom would get off work to pick me up and go back home. That was when I was five and then I moved to my own house. Even then though, it was the same thing the right after school. I would be at my grandparents’ house and my mom would pick me up after she gets off work. I mean it’s very common for that to happen in Taiwan because in elementary school you have to take after school classes.
For elementary school, we arrive early at six in the morning, because every week, in order to save budget, we didn’t have a maid. There’s no clean up crew like Drake, so all the cleaning is done by the students. Each week they would say, “Okay, number one to 20, you are assigned to clean our floor for this week.” So you had to come at six in the morning when no one was in school and just clean the floors and brush the toilets and prepare the entire classroom. After that, we had morning meetings where you sit in your own classroom and the teacher tells you what happened lately in school. It’s like homeroom basically, but during then there would be a national anthem where you had to stand up. Then the class starts at seven, and then it ‘s just straight up class, class, class, until lunch. That’s when you get a lunch break and, during elementary school, you go to nap time for about 30 minutes. After nap time, it’s class, class, class. For every two hour class there’s a five minute break.
After school ended at five, people would go to after school class outside of school. I went to an inside school one so I just stayed there and studied until around seven. I took around three classes there, so I took Math, English, and Chinese after school. Sometimes schools offer it, sometimes they don’t, so some people go outside of school to go to class. That’s just a routine thing in Asia. Almost every kid takes after school lessons outside of school. I remember my cousin, her after school lessons lasted til 9pm. Or the school bus would pick me up and send me home. That’s basically elementary school for six years.
For my Western school in Thailand we had a maid, so students didn’t have to clean up anymore. We got up at five in the morning to go to school, because it was outside my living region and so I would go early. It would take me hours to go to school, so I arrived at almost 6:40 and school starts at 7. It was much less strict, since this was Western school, so we would get a ten minute break between each session. If it was a 45 minute class we would get a 10 minute break, and then you go to lunch. Then it was the same thing afternoon. There’s no after school class because it’s Western class; there’s activities, just like the standard American high school. We went to sport teams or music club and such.
I was involved in both sports and music. Well, in Thailand, the biggest sport there is soccer. Because it’s the national sport, I played soccer. Because our school required everyone to go to art programs, I took instrumental music. I played flute, trumpet and saxophone. It was a huge routine thing there, so not a lot of change has happened.