cia factbook

Hetalia Fandom Hub Interview: @bubbleteahime!

She’s a content creator, Taiwan expert, and bubble tea connoisseur! It’s @bubbleteahime!


Hello! Can you introduce yourself for everyone?

大家好! My name is zen. I am a 17-year-old Taiwanese by blood (and American by birth) student living abroad in the Middle East. In the fandom, I used to post pwgbta art, but I’m mostly reblogging now. I write and make edits occasionally but, mainly, I serve as the resident Taiwan person– an all-around consultant, information source, and fan of APH Taiwan and Taiwan. I like predominantly historical and reality-based Hetalia and aim to spread information and awareness on APH Taiwan in order to give her the portrayal she deserves (and lacks right now) in the fandom. 

How long have you been in the fandom and how did you get into it?

My entry into the fandom had been a late one, in 2013, beyond the heyday of Hetalia. The story goes that I found PruHun fanart and found out Hetalia existed. I loved the idea of personified countries, but really, what mattered to me most was whether my own country was represented or not, and she was! To make it worse, I more or less shipped Japan and Taiwan before I even knew Hetalia existed. So after I immersed myself in all the incredible fanart on pixiv and fanfiction from Taiwan, I was already irrevocably sucked into the Hetalia fandom. In short, blame my love for Taiwan and its relations with Japan.

Taiwan seems like a really important character to you! Are there any ways, besides nationality, that you find her relatable?

She loves food and sassing people, and I find that really relatable. Food is my life, and I’m prone to having a sharp tongue sometimes. Additionally, I, too, have become more of an anxious type in recent years. 

What is your favourite thing about the fandom?

I like how it can be very educational in nature! When you find the right people, you learn so much about other countries and regions- their cultures, histories, politics. It’s a beautiful thing when done right, and I’m grateful to have found these people in the Hetalia fandom.

Why did you want to become an Ambassador for Taiwan?

I have always wanted to play a similar role in the fandom. In fact, I had a plan to become fandom famous so I can spread information about Taiwan and encourage portrayals of APH Taiwan that actually reflect a Taiwanese perspective. There has never been much knowledge on Taiwan in the fandom, and I know that from all the fanfiction and fanworks I’ve seen in the fandom. There has been a lot of misconceptions about her and Taiwan in general, and her fandom reputation hinges a lot upon portrayals that could use some actual Taiwanese perspective/research/criticism. I have wanted to rectify that ever since I joined the fandom. So when the role of Ambassadors was announced on the Hub, I jumped at the chance even before the details were even released. I’ve been ready all my life. 

What do you enjoy most about writing and editing?

What I love most about writing is how I can express my country through my words creatively. There are a lot of things that get lost in translation, but I aim to bridge those gaps with my writing. I can directly show people the Taiwan I know through writing, and that’s what matters to me. Additionally, I think writing Hetalia fanfiction is also very incredible when you put into a lot of research on it. You allow people to see and learn about the history, the relations, of different countries and places in a way that’s more subtle, more interesting than in purely academic language. With edits, I aim to do that visually, but admittedly, I am much better and more comfortable with writing than editing.

What do you find most difficult about writing and editing?

Finding the time for them would probably be my biggest challenge. I have so many unwritten ideas I had to discard because I know I won’t have time to finish them. Other than that, I would have to say researching for accuracy because it’s time consuming, and sometimes you just can’t find the information you need, and putting the information together also is not easy.

If people want to research a culture, where do you think is a good place to start?

On a surface level, CIA World Factbook is a pretty solid place to check out for basic facts about countries (though I would advise being cautious because it does have an American perspective) and checking out the country’s own government website to get the basic facts from the country’s own perspective (which, also, you need to be cautious with because this is only the government’s perspective). Next, I would say extensive research from trustworthy sources– true, blog posts may be cool places to look for observations, but more often than not they’re by tourists. The best thing would be getting publications from people of that culture, but I know that’s difficult to come by, especially when you don’t speak the language. I usually look for academic papers and feature stories about culture on news organizations from that country or culture itself because they usually have an ample amount of credibility and evidence. 

Additionally, @writingwithcolor is a wonderful resource if you have specific questions about portraying characters of certain cultures in your writing.

Do you think being culturally accurate is more important than being canonically accurate?

I think there are many ways of interpreting Hetalia, but personally, yes, I do think so. These are personifications of real countries, real people, real cultures– that in itself comes with a certain kind of weight. Sure, Hetalia is just a manga/anime, and people should enjoy it as they please, but it is important to remember that sometimes the canon depiction of certain countries do not match the actual countries themselves. Himaruya’s depictions of countries is colored by his personal views, and more often than not, a lot of them tend to lack depth in research. I mean, I can’t expect him to do that amount of research for every single country, of course, but I would like the fandom to understand that. Often, I see Hetalia being the way people gain exposure to other countries that might not exist in their daily lives, and I think that’s great. However, ultimately, I think the people of that country, that culture, would and should have most say in the way they are represented by their countries’ “personifications”– sometimes the Hetalia canon just doesn’t reflect their perspective. So it can be pretty harmful for people to have the Hetalia canon projected onto these countries in real life.

Who do you look up to in the fandom?

I must say, there are a great many bloggers I admire in the fandom, but the ones I admire most are mostly part of the @historicalhetaliacollective. There I have truly found the corner I belong in, and I have learned SO much from everyone in the collective. (It’s sappy, but I love you all so much.) To name a few, @stirringwind, @yelyzavetaart, @tomato-bird, and @ilaaer have been incredible sources of inspiration to me in how they’ve used their art and writing to express and portray their knowledge and research. A good number of them have also used their fandom fame to spread information and awareness about difficult and/or controversial real life issues and histories– something that really is NOT easy to do on this site. @excelsorum has also been an amazing friend and inspiration to me, too. He put so much research into all his roleplay blogs, and we’re in the same boat of trying to rectify our misrepresented countries. He has probably been subject to most of my ranting and has helped me clarify a lot on my portrayal and interpretation of Taiwan. @iuius has also been a wonderful friend and inspiration who has been subject to my long-winded Taiwan rants. I really admire her art and the thought she puts into her designs! Truly, there are a lot more people I have not yet mentioned, but the people in the collective are truly dear to me and inspire me to continue in my endeavors of writing and spreading information about Taiwan and APH Taiwan.


Thank you very much to @bubbleteahime for being our interviewee this month! Please check out her work as an Ambassador, writer, and edit maker!

Ethnic Groups in Modern Egypt

The CIA World Factbook lists “Egyptians” as 99.6% of the population, and “Other” as 0.4% (2006 census). “Other” refers to those who are not citizens of Egypt, who come to Egypt to work for international companies, diplomats, etc. The vast majority of Egyptians are native speakers of modern Egyptian Arabic. 

Minorities in Egypt include the Copts who represent ~10% of the population and live all over the country, the Berber-speaking community of the Siwa Oasis (Siwis), and the Nubian people clustered along the Nile in the southernmost part of Egypt. There are also sizable minorities of Beja and Dom. The country was host to many different communities during the colonial period, incl. Greeks, Italians, Lebanese, Syro-Lebanese, Jews, Armenians, and Turks, though most either left or were compelled to leave in the 1950′s. The country still hosts some 90,000 refugees and asylum seekers, mostly Palestinians and Sudanese.

anonymous asked:

I cannot stand some people. This guy was like "sadly banning guns won't stop anything, just look at the UK..." and I was like [sassy remark about how useless his statement is] and he sent me a long list of countries with higher gun death rates than america, and I was like "source??" And he said the CIA world factbook and I told him to send me the link to the exact page this information was allegedly on, meanwhile I looked myself and couldn't find anything even remotely close to his list. Liar.

Honestly? I despise people who worship the second amendment. 

Mod Bethany