Two in Two Thousand: Yue-Yi Hwa ’11 and Kaitlin Butler ’11

As part of a long-standing Record tradition, I met Yue-Yi (YY) Hwa ’11 and Kaitlin Butler ’11 in the Record office on a Saturday morning for the final “Two in 2000” interview of the year. Reunited with two of my beloved mentors of days past, I came to the interview ready to prove to the campus how incredible these two exemplars of journalistic leadership really are.

Being “Two in 2000” is quite the honor. What does this moment mean to you?

KB: It’s the reason I joined the Record. I hoped this day would come, and I tried to engineer it from the inside.

It really is the only way to guarantee being “Two in 2000.”

KB: Actually, I guess I never wanted to be “Two in 2000.” I just wanted to be a good “Two in 2000” writer when I had to do it, so I don’t really know how to handle this now.

YH: Yeah, I’m not used to being interviewed. I’m used to interviewing people and asking them obnoxious questions.

What’s it like being on the other side of the interview?

KB: Unimpressive.

YH: Curiouser and curiouser.

KB: Not necessarily comfortable.

So, the campus wants to know about you. What would a TV show about YY and Kaitlin look like?

KB: Um, The Odd Couple?

YH: It could be like satirical Noh theater or something.

KB: I’m not so sure I’m down for Noh theater. Maybe it would be a mystery series. And I would be Miss Marple.

YH: It could be a hyper-melodramatic mystery series.

KB: Also eventually YY would probably become my caretaker because she’s much more responsible than I am. Then it would turn into a medical drama.

What’s the quirkiest thing about you?

KB: Occasionally when she’s tired, YY’s patterns of speech … Actually I wouldn’t even call them patterns, I don’t know. It’s not to say that they repeat, but they’re certainly – well, “I don’t think I’m really making any sense right now” is usually the follow-up quote.

YH: See, it’s fun because, being an international, I pretend that’s how people in Malaysia talk, but it’s actually me just being really strange.

KB: And by fun you mean cruel! But I will say that I appreciate YY for sharing how to actually say her name by comparing “Yue” to “duet” so that I’d be able to figure it out. Even though of course the Record has eliminated the need to say anything but “YY.”

Why did you choose to go with “YY” just for us?

KB: I think it was Jared Quinton, managing editor from the Class of 2010, who started it.

YH: You know, I have really close friends back at home who are perfectly capable of saying my name but call me YY anyway. So it doesn’t really matter to me. But I still need to say what’s quirky about Kaitlin.

KB: Oh no, that’s alright.

YH: I was going to say that you have a very specific sort of whimsical and – anachronistic is not the right word – just whimsical turn of phrase that I really like.

KB: Ah, thank you!

YH: Also your Chinese slippers! I love your Chinese slippers.

What’s the story there?

KB: Well they cost $1.34 down the road from where my uncle lives in Queens. So whenever we visit my uncle I stock up on these shoes. They never give me blisters, they’re perfect walking shoes, but then of course I tear through them. Although for the black ones I’ll color in the toe when my toenail starts breaking through, because that way I can prolong the overall black color.

YH: Yeah, they come in different beautiful colors. And they have flowers on them.

What would a YY-Kaitlin superperson mash-up look like?

KB: It would include YY’s laugh for sure. And YY’s … heart?

YH: Definitely Kaitlin’s efficiency.

KB: YY’s archival knowledge of the Record.

YH: Kaitlin’s great canon of books that she’s read.

KB: Oh, The Chronicles of Narnia … YY’s brains and soul might be good to throw in there as well.

YH: I like Kaitlin’s smile a lot. It’s very endearing.

KB: It would be nice if our superperson had long arms, because I’m used to being able to reach things. I’d want to compromise on that, if you don’t mind.

YH: Yes, I like that. Kaitlin’s height is good – my height does not make for superpeople. I’d want Kaitlin’s amazing long limbs. Actually, did you know that the first time I knew who you were was because Amanda Korman [’10] was telling me who the new Record board was and she was like, “Kaitlin, she’s that really willowy brunette”?

KB: Oooo, a willowy brunette! You better print that, Austin. Wow, this is very nice. I like retroactive compliments.

If there were a holiday in your honor, what would it celebrate?

KB: Well the holiday celebrating YY would definitely involve a laughing ritual. There’d be little Tupperwares of food, and there would be either people laughing or canned YY laughter. It would be a day where people are kind to the elderly.

YH: What, because I’m old?

KB: Yes, of course. And you’d be required to snuggle up somewhere and drink something warm. And read something nice, which I might like to be the unifying theme of my day as well because I’m lazy.

YH: I would enjoy that. Well, the Kaitlin day would involve wonderful readings of stories of the Narnia variety, which I would also love. And dancing to those stories. And good Irish music. [Kaitlin gasps in delight.] And alcohol of both the expensive, delicious variety and the cheap, delicious variety.

KB: The cheap variety is fine!

YH: Actually, the thank-you is a very distinctive Kaitlin thing, so there’d be lots of thank you’s. You say “thank you” a lot.

KB: My parents raised me mannerly.

YH: Oh, and there’d also be sharings of parental injunctions from days past.

KB: From my mother! She always said to get all A’s. I should have listened to her, obviously.

As editors, what punctuation mark best describes your personality?

YH: I would go for the dash.

KB: Not the hyphen?

YH: Well my name does have a hyphen, which makes it special. But I like the dash because it allows you to connect things that may or may not necessarily be connected.

That’s beautiful.

YH: Or at least it pretends to do that.

KB: Mine is the semi-colon. It’s obnoxious, few people know how to use it, it’s kind of old-fashioned and I think it could work wonders if people just gave it a little bit of time and affection. The world would be a much better place if people knew how to make complex lists correctly. So I’m going to go for the semi-colon, which I kind of feel bad for but also really admire.

YH: Together we can make really long sentences.

What have you guys learned from being ‘Record’ editors?

KB: I learned how to love.

YH: I learned how to write e-mails that try to strike a balance of very persuasive but not too obnoxious. Basically, how to write good passive-aggressive e-mails.

KB: That’s a really good skill. Better than learning how to love.

Both have their place!

KB: Also I learned cold, sinking terror when you wonder if something was your fault.

Do you have any parting thoughts for the campus?

KB: Call me.

So sultry!

KB: Genuinely, it would come from a desire to talk to as many wonderful people on my social bucket list as possible before the end of the year.

YH: I like having meals with random people, so if you’d like to have a random meal with me, e-mail me.

KB: What she said.

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