UT alumni John Sun and Tina Yang recently opened Cream Whiskers, a cream puff bakery near campus. While cream puffs are served at other bakeries around Austin, the husband-and-wife duo models its recipe after the pastries they tried in Taiwan. 

Photo Credit: Letitia Smith | Daily Texan Staff

As electrical engineering and microbiology graduates, UT alumni John Sun and Tina Yang never expected to return to Austin as owners of a cream puff bakery. 

Cream Whiskers is located on 22 ½ Street, between Rio Grande and Pearl Street. The bakery opened Oct. 5 and has a variety of cream puff custards, such as strawberry cheesecake, cookies and cream and pumpkin spice. 

After graduating in 2004, Sun worked at a computer manufacturing firm while Yang went to pharmacy school. What started as a middle-school friendship resulted in a college relationship, with the two eventually marrying in 2009. 

Neither of them ever considered opening a bakery until they were visiting relatives in Taiwan, when they ordered two cream puffs to go at a bakery in a train station. Both Sun and Yang were pleasantly surprised.

“I’m not really a fan of most desserts because they are too sweet for me,” Yang said. “When I first tried a cream puff, however, I was instantly taken by surprise. It had such a light, airy taste.”

In early 2013, Sun left his job to open Cream Whiskers. Yang continued to work at the pharmacy, but joined Sun in creating and opening the bakery.

“We loved the cream puffs so much that we wanted to bring them to America,” Sun said. “We decided to start our business in Austin because people in Austin are not afraid to try new things.”

Cream puffs are served at several bakeries around Austin, but Sun and Yang modeled their recipe after the pastries they had tasted in Taiwan. The cream puff shell is made up of four basic ingredients: egg, flour, butter and water. Perfecting the ratio of the ingredients and oven temperature proved to be a challenge. It took Yang several attempts to finally find the right consistency. 

Two weeks before the grand opening, Cream Whiskers hosted a five-hour “free puffs” event outside the bakery. Two-hundred students were invited to try vanilla cream puffs and fill out feedback surveys. The students also suggested other flavors they wanted to see the bakery offer, such as coffee and chocolate.

“I live right across from Cream Whiskers and thought it looked welcoming, so I decided to check it out,” finance senior Johnathan Haryono said. “It’s a nice place to study, play board games and hang out with friends. Since I live close, I come almost every day.”

Sun and Yang plan to open two or three more bakeries in Austin before expanding their business to other parts of Texas. The owners promote their business through social media platforms and by attending sponsorship events.

“Right now, our primary marketing strategy has been through word of mouth and apps like UMeTime,” Yang said. “John and I are definitely looking into paid advertising, event catering and online ordering to grow our business.”

Sun’s and Yang’s favorite part of being business owners is the learning process and adventure involved.

“Take risks and do everything one step at a time,” Sun said. “Accept the fact that hard times are inevitable, but never give up. The end result is well worth it.”

Aside from the normal stresses of graduating that include exams, papers and deadlines, Jenny Lo has to worry about whether or not she must leave the country to abide by immigration laws.

Lo is a mechanical engineering graduate student and an international student from Taiwan. Lo said international students have the added stress of learning and conforming to the country’s immigration laws for students.

“I’m set to graduate in May and I have a job lined up in July, but I can’t apply for my work visa until September, so between July and September I need some sort of valid identification,” Lo said. “If your visa is about to expire you may have to leave the country to go back home. It’s always a hassle to try to get back into the U.S. There’s always that period where you’re hanging in the air, and you’re not sure what to do, should you get your plane ticket yet, should you not, should you wait?” 

Lo has applied for Optional Practical Training status, which allows graduating international students 12 months in the U.S. to train and find jobs in their field, leading to a work visa. Students in science, technology, engineering or mathematics can apply for an additional 17 months.

Lo must apply for the status to legally stay from July to September, although her application may not even be looked at or approved by the time she can apply for a work visa.

“The waiting period is really long, so I probably won’t get the OPT in time and have to return to Taiwan,” Lo said. “Hopefully it is all set by the time I need to return, otherwise I won’t be able to come back on time.”

Teri Albrecht, International Student & Scholar Services director, said international graduate students, even with the training status, are not guaranteed security in the country.

“They really have to plan and have a job lined up, because they are required to be employed within the first 90 days on the start date or the immigration office could consider them out of status,” Albrecht said. “There are layers of uncertainty for these students.”

Albrecht said limitations on work opportunities and required authorizations of workplaces can restrict professional and research experience students can gain before graduating.

A group of Graduate Student Assembly members lobbied in Washington in April to authorize dual intent for the student visas and to lift work restrictions for students and their dependents. They also asked for an increase in the cap on H-1B visas, which are three-year work visas aimed at foreign students entering the workforce.

The Taiwanese American Students Association presents the 10th Annual Night Market in front of the Gregory Plaza on Friday night. Students get to experience traditional Taiwanese culture through performances and games.

Photo Credit: Haipei Han | Daily Texan Staff

Students experienced the atmosphere and taste of a Taiwanese night market Friday evening after standing in lines for traditional food, painting lanterns, playing a Taiwanese ring-toss game and participating in other cultural activities.

The Taiwanese American Students Association organized the 10th annual Taiwanese market in the Gregory Gym plaza. The event replicated the atmosphere of a traditional Taiwanese night market to educate students about Taiwanese culture.

“What an actual Taiwanese market is, you walk into a street and there are just vendors everywhere selling clothes, selling food, and it’s a really overwhelming experience,” Douglas Wang, the association’s financial director, said. “The food and everything is all blended so well together.”

Wang, a finance sophomore, said an actual Taiwanese night market promotes businesses, whereas the replicated event at UT promotes the culture of Taiwan to students. He said the market was filled with vendors from other Asian cultural organizations that were also invited to promote unique aspects of their cultures.

Plan II senior Daniel Hung, the association’s president, said the event had more food, entertainment and tabling by organizations this year than ever before.

“To me, it’s just nostalgic being here,” Hung said. “It reminds me of Taiwan and being at the night market in Taiwan. For me, it’s just bringing back the old memories. That’s the best part.”

Hung said he thinks the best part of Taiwanese culture is the food. At the event, students got to try Taiwanese cuisine for free. Students stood in long lines that stretched from the south side of Gregory Gym plaza to the north side. When it was announced the green onion pancake line was moved, students ran to form a new line.

The night was filled with a variety of entertainment, including a mochi-eating contest, a Chinese yo-yo performance and singing. Biochemistry freshman Kevin Chan sang a popular Taiwanese song titled “Kiss Goodbye” acoustically. Vendors and students attending the event sang along in Taiwanese. He said the song is one of the more popular songs of the current Taiwanese generation.

Students also played “Tao Chaung Chaung,” a game similar to ring toss, at the Taiwanese International Student Association booth.

The event was a success because they were able to share the unique culture and identity of Taiwan with more people this year, Hung said.

Hung said, “I think the best way to express that is through our culture, through our food, through our games, which is why the night market is such a big deal for us.”

People protest during a May Day rally in Barcelona, Spain on Tuesday. Tens of thousands of workers marked May Day in European cities with a mix of anger and gloom over imposed austerity measures.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

MADRID — On the front lines of the world’s May Day protests this year, along with the traditional chants, banners and marches, a gamut of emotions flowed through the crowds: Anger. Fear. Elation. Despair.

With Europe’s unemployed denouncing austerity measures, Asia’s laborers demanding higher salaries and U.S. protesters condemning Wall Street, Tuesday’s demonstrations by hundreds of thousands were less a celebration of workers’ rights than a furious venting over spending cuts, tax hikes and soaring unemployment.

The protests came just days ahead of key elections in Greece and France, whose leaders have acutely felt popular anger over policies many feel are strangling any hopes of economic recovery. The rallies reflected deep pessimism in Spain, dealing with a fragile economy is in the cross-hairs of the European debt crisis.

Yet optimism and national pride emerged too. Over 100,000 turned out in Russia for May Day rallies that celebrated Vladimir Putin’s government. And tens of thousands of workers rallied with joy in France, hoping this would be the last week of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservative leadership.

In the U.S., protesters lined major financial institutions in the country’s most high-profile Occupy Wall Street rallies since the encampments protesting the gap between the superrich and poor came down in the fall. Crowds blocked intersections in Oakland, Calif., trying to force businesses to shut down for not observing calls for a “general strike.” Police in riot gear faced dozens of Occupy activists marching in front of a Bank of America in New York City, chanting “Bank of America. Bad for America.”

Under a gray Madrid sky that reflected the dark national mood, 25-year Adriana Jaime turned out to march. Jaime speaks three languages and has a masters degree as a translator, but works for what she derided as peanuts in a university research project that has been cut from three years to three months due to a lack of funds.

“I am here because there is no future for the young people of this country,” Jaime said as many marchers carried black-and-white placards with the word NO and a pair of red scissors.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is trying desperately to cut a bloated deficit, restore investor confidence in Spain’s public finances, lower its 24.4 percent jobless rate, and fend off fears the country will soon need a bailout like Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

But Ana Lopez, a 44-year-old civil servant, argued the government is doing nothing to help workers and that the economic crisis is only benefiting banks.

“Money does not just disappear. It does not fly away. It just changes hands, and now it is with the banks,” Lopez said. “And the politicians are puppets of the banks.”

In France, tens of thousands of workers, leftists and union leaders marked May Day with glee, hoping that a presidential runoff vote Sunday will put a Socialist at the helm for the first time since 1988.

Protests took place all over the globe, in places such as Germany Russia; Chile; Argentina, Indonesia, the Phillipines, Taiwan and Cuba. Also known as International Workers’ Day, it is a commemoration of those killed striking during the Haymarket Riots of 1886.Many voters fear Sarkozy will erode France’s welfare and worker protections, and see him as too friendly with the rich.

“Sarkozy has allowed himself for too long to manhandle the lower classes,” said Dante Leonardi, a 24-year-old in Paris. “Today we must show ... that we want him to leave.”

Hollande has promised high taxes on the rich.

“We are going to choose Hollande because we want something else for France. We want to keep our jobs, we want to keep our industrial jobs, we want a new economy,” said protester Serge Tanguy.

Even in Germany, where the economy is churning and unemployment is at a record low, unions estimated that 400,000 people showed up at over 400 May Day rallies. The DGB union group sharply criticized Europe’s treaty enshrining fiscal discipline and the austerity measures across the continent, calling instead for a stimulus program to revive the 17-nation eurozone’s depressed economies.

In debt-crippled Greece, more than 2,000 people marched through central Athens in subdued May Day protests centered on the country’s harsh austerity program.

“(We need) new policies that will satisfy the needs of workers and not of bosses and banks,” said Ilias Vrettakos of the ADEDY union.

In Moscow, the mood was resolutely pro-government, as 100,000 people — including President Dmitry Medvedev and President-elect Putin — took part in the main May Day march.

The two leaders happily chatted with participants as many banners criticized the Russian opposition movement. One read “Spring has come, the swamp has dried up,” referring to Bolotnaya (Swampy) Square, the site of some of the largest opposition demonstrations.

Communists and leftists held a separate May Day rally in Moscow that attracted about 3,000. Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov decried international economic troubles, saying that “without socialism, without respect for the working people who create all the main value in this land, it is not possible to get out of this crisis.”

Police arrested 22 people at the rally, and violence was largely contained at the protests.

After a workers’ day march in Santiago, Chile, some protesters threw objects at closed businesses, breaking the windows of several banks and pulling out furniture to build a bonfire in the street. Police responded with tear gas and water cannons, and arrested an undetermined number of people. In Argentina, small explosion went off outside the EU headquarters in Buenos Aires before dawn, breaking a few windows, but there were no injuries and no one was arrested.

Earlier, thousands of workers protested in the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan and other Asian nations, demanding wage hikes. They said their take-home pay could not keep up with rising food, energy and housing prices and school fees.

An unemployed father of six set himself on fire in southern Pakistan in an apparent attempt to kill himself because he was mired in poverty, according to police officer Nek Mohammed. Abdul Razzaq Ansari, 45, suffered burns on 40 percent of his body but survived.

In Manila, capital of the Philippines, more than 8,000 union members clad in red shirts and waving red streamers marched under a brutal sun to a heavily barricaded bridge near the Malacanang presidential palace, which teemed with thousands of riot police.

Another group of left-wing workers later burned a huge effigy of President Benigno Aquino III, depicting him as a lackey of the United States and big business. Aquino has rejected their calls for a $3 daily pay hike, which he warned could worsen inflation and spark layoffs.

In Indonesia, thousands of protesters demanding higher wages paraded through traffic-clogged streets in the capital, Jakarta, where 16,000 police and soldiers were deployed. Protests were also held in Taiwan, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

In Havana, Cubans marked May Day not with protest but with a mass demonstration dedicated to “preserving and perfecting socialism,” the slogan on a huge banner carried by medical workers who led the march.

Thousands filed through the capital’s Plaza of the Revolution in front of President Raul Castro and Cabinet officials, waving red, white and blue Cuban flags.

“Country, revolution and socialism are inextricably fused together,” said Salvador Valdes Mesa, head of Cuba’s central labor union.

Printed on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 as: May Day protesters focus economic rage

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Robinson Cano doubled in a run in the seventh inning to help an MLB All-Star team beat Taiwan’s national team 5-3 Thursday in the second game of a five-game series.

The New York Yankees’ second baseman also singled and scored in the sixth inning in the game in Taichung.

“They got a great team,” Cano said. “They played a pretty good game.”

The Taiwanese went ahead 3-2 in the fifth, scoring twice on three hits and a walk. The MLB squad tied it in the sixth and added two more runs in the seventh.

Relievers Rich Thompson of the Los Angeles Angels, Ramon Ramirez of the San Francisco Giants and Bill Bray of the Cincinnati Reds kept the Taiwanese scoreless from the sixth inning on.

The Texas Dragon/Lion Dance Team performs at the TASA Night Market, Friday. The event’s activities, performances and food created an experience similar to night markets in Taiwan.

Photo Credit: Marisa Vasquez | Daily Texan Staff

Singing, dance performances and students eating green onion pancakes dominated the Main Mall at the ninth annual night market hosted by the Taiwanese American Students’ Association.

Association co-president Bryan Han said night markets are an important cultural tradition in East Asia, especially in Taiwan, which has the biggest night markets in the region. Han said night markets are the Taiwanese equivalent to a state fair and offer unique food at low prices. Han said the organization designed the event, which about 1,000 people attended Friday night, to highlight the Taiwanese culture, which is frequently overshadowed by the Chinese culture.

 “There’s this ongoing argument whether Taiwan is its own nation or whether it’s under China,” Han said. “We try to embrace the Taiwanese culture as a separate identity to China, but we also embrace our shared culture together.”

Han said the night market’s interactive elements, such as a food station that showed people how to make green onion pancakes, allow non-Asian students to actively learn about Taiwanese culture.

“Food is just so universal that everyone can understand it,” Han said. “This is a piece of Taiwanese culture that people can embrace and they can make it for themselves on a daily basis.”

Seventeen student organizations hosted booths at the fair that offered games, face painting and crafts. Nine musical and dance acts performed, including a Chinese lion dancing group, traditional Chinese fan dancers and Los Angeles Taiwanese-American musician Dawen.

The Texas Dragon/Lion Dance Team performed a lion dance with two performers under a red and black lion while six other performers danced and played percussion. Client contact manager Jin Kwon said their lion performance, frequently used in Chinese New Year celebrations, helps spread awareness of East Asian culture.

“America is a diverse, multicultural country,” Kwon said. “I feel like it’s always important for people to see what other kind of cultures there are and what other cultures do.”

The three members of the Texas Chinese Fan Dance Company performed a dance with fabric fans that incorporated modern elements like music that featured saxophones. Company co-founder Janet Zhou said the group’s performance helped overturn misconceptions people may have had about Chinese dance.

“Our main thing was just showing them how unique, how beautiful Chinese dance can be,” Zhou said. “When I say I do Chinese dance, [people] think ‘Oh, is that the really slow kind of thing the grannies do in the parks?’ And it’s like, ‘No, not really, there is a different side to it.’”

Studio art freshman Briana Blacknall said she enjoyed the large number of activities at the event and the large crowd.

“It’s really lively and when I first got here it was really exciting,” Blacknal said. “It makes me want to go to Taiwan and go to an actual night market.”