Eileen Xiaobo (born 4 Feb 3152) is an Asgardian musician, politician, author, philosopher and mathematician who is currently President of the University of Anaximander and Anax One, a post she has held since 3196. Prior to her presidency, she was a tenured Professor for Mathematical Logic and Computability Theory at the University's Asimov Institute (3188-94). Xiaobo is also a prolific political author and public personality and one of the sector's leading proponents of the ProgSoc movement.
Xiaobo is one of the youngest Presidents in the University's history. She is also known due to her involvement in popular spacepsych band Radiant Amber, where she was lead singer and writer from 3170-76. Negative campaign ads in her 3196 election campaign have used her past with Radiant Amber to accuse her of "selling out family values for fame" and being nothing but a "fleeting rockstar politician". The campaign backfired and resulted in a landslide election victory for Xiaobo, who has since embraced the label of "rockstar politican" enthusiastically.
Xiaobo was born on Thorkatla to a Hoveydan father and a Chinese-Majidi mother and grew up in her parents' interstellar line marriage. As part of her mother's xeno-archeological expeditions she spent portions of her childhood on Thorkatla, Hoveyda, Sigrid, Frois and Elouahabu, before enrolling at Anaximander University in 3168.
Student years and music careerEdit
Xiaobo studied mathematics, philosophy and interstellar relations at Anaximander University from 3168-79, finishing with a PhD in mathematical logic. Asked about the contrast between the extended duration of her studies and her rapid academic career afterwards, Xiaobo elaborated in a recent interview with The Supernova: "During the first few years at Anax, I had other things in mind than Uni. The late 60s saw the height of the student protests and a massive politicisation of the whole student body. Politics were suddenly cool and being against the hegemonic agenda was an entry card into most social groups. I was young and completely overwhelmed and really drifted for a while before I got into University politics and in '70 started Amber with a couple of my mates. That really helped a lot. Music was an outlet for my confusion and frustration with the system and it also helped me consolidate as a personality. When we became really big in '74 or so, I felt myself changing into a direction that I didn't like necessarily. I made the realisation that ironically, I had become part of the establishment, the upper class if you will, by screaming out my anger at them. It's a really devious system, if you think about it. Become successful enough in it - and be it through total antagonism to it - and suddenly it makes you so comfortable you don't even know what you're screaming at any more. Your anger and critical consciousness become a self-perpetuation for the sake of it and before you realise it, you scream at the system because that's what makes you successful. You scream at an establishment that doesn't even fight you; it just says: 'Well done! People like what you do! Now enjoy your comfy Space Yacht.' It's maddening. I kept moving in circles and felt very, very hollow suddenly. That's when I realised that music had run its course for me. I really started to focus on my studies after that and dropped Amber entirely in '76. I earned my degree that same year."
Xiaobo took a gap period of 6 months after that and travelled around the sector, before returning to Anaximander University to accept a supplementary teaching position and start working on her PhD, which she earned in 3179.
Xiaobo became a research assistant at Hoveydan Planetary University in early 3180. She has remarked that she never much enjoyed her time there. "I felt disconnected. Which is quite a rare occurence for me, as I have never struggled to establish networks and my interstellar upbringing has made me quite adept at absorbing, understanding and solving new environments. But Hoveyda was big, anonymous and at the same time it felt eerily provincial in opposition to Anax. Which is not to say that I dislike the planet or its people - but academic culture just felt so ... conventional. The staff/student ratio is abysmal and we as staff had the unspoken task of letting the students feel that. Very clear hierarchies, inflexible structures and entirely apathetic political constellations made sure that none of my skills were utilised. I kept very close contact with Picah throughout this period and as a result of her influence started to delve into political theory a lot more than I had previously. The things I had fought for in Uni politics at Anax started to make sense from entirely new perspectives now. I started writing for a larger audience and a couple of my best books and articles are from that time. I guess my time at Hoveyda Uni radicalised me, ironically, and it became clear to me that I had to leave sooner rather than later. When the offer came for an assistant professorship in '84 I was exstatic to return to Anax. Things seemed to be happening there. They always do."
She became a tenured professor at the University of Anaximander in 3188.
Anaximander University ParliamentEdit
Xiaobo became active in university politics as early as 3169 and was elected into Anaximander University Parliament in 3171 as a member of the Mualimi Faction. Fellow students and coworkers described her early relations with her political home faction as "strained" and "tense to a point where a cooperation seemed nonsensical". Xiaobo started writing for the ProgSoc Review in 3173 and co-founded the ProgSoc Faction two years later. She was speaker of the faction from 3176-80 and 88-96.
Xiaobo's campaign for the University presidency started in early 3196. Observers initially regarded her chances of winning against the candidates of the more established Mualimi and Conservative Factions as low. Key issues of her campaign were a proposed Stipulation for Civilian Research (SCR), which aimed at commiting Anaximander University to civilian research and end cooperations with military contractors such as Sunbeam Multistellar, a continued strict adherence to the University's tradition of independent research, low police presence, an opposition to tuition fees and an increased cooperation with NGOs and sentient rights movements, small businesses and independent private research institutes.
While her bid was initially largely ignored by established Anaximandan media, her campaign gathered momentum especially on social media and Space Net usegroups. After polls showed her increasing popularity particularly among students, beginning in March of 3196, the Conservative Faction started running negative ads aimed at Xiaobo. The ads targeted her past with spacepsych band Radiant Amber, quoting some of the more extreme and graphic lyrics and insinuating political extremism.
One ad featured Conservative Anaximandan politician Bony Haggot saying: "What do we really know about Eileen Xiaobo? Or is it Xiaobo Eileen? You never know with those Majidi types, ha! We know that her parents never had the commitment, the courage, the pride to call one planet their home and stick with it. Instead, they lived in a line marriage! And look at little Eileen. We know she has never married. Can she really take responsibility for our University when she can't even handle a family? We know she enjoys the spotlight very, very much. Is she too self-absorbed to serve the common good? Eileen Xiaobo, fleeting Rockstar Politician, selling out family values for fame. But boy, can she please a crowd. Vote Conservative. Commitment, Courage. Pride."
Haggot wore a traditional cowboy costume and walked through wide steppes with herds of cattle in the background to allude to Xiaobo's earlier criticism of Sunbeam. The ad flooded social networks shortly after it was first aired and Xiaobo supporters created parody versions focusing on what was perceived as Haggot's wooden delivery, tacky costume and mysoginistic wink after "But boy, can she please a crowd." Soon after, phrases from the ad were reclaimed by Xiaobo's supporters and campaign organisers and the hashtags #boycanshepleaseacrowd and #rockstarpolitician trended especially during her rallies and public appearances and became famous throughout the sector.
Xiaobo went on to incorporate the phrases into her speeches as well. In June, she got together for a reunion concert with Radiant Amber, which she had left in 3176 and had gone on extended hiatus in 3181, and played a single sold-out gig tagged Rockstars&Politicians in The Docks. The band played their entire album The Hull in chronological order. Subsequently, The Hull and its hit single "In the Synth" topped the Asgard Albums and Singles Charts resepectively, over 20 years after their first publication. The band members have since said that the reunion show was intended as part of Xiaobo's campaign and does not constitute a real reunion: "No, it doesn't mean we're back together. This was for Ellie. We believe in her, we really do. The cause is a good one and we stand with her. This was really fun for us, surprisingly so, but that part of our lives is just over. Sorry to the fans but consider it gratifying just for flipping off Bony Haggot big time! That guy had it coming, man!"
She went on to dominate the polls and won the election on 2nd August 3196 in a landslide, outperforming her opponents 57%-28%-15%. Haggot has since said that he regrets making the ad but while he found the concert to be "extremely pleasing", Xiaobo's reaction had proven his point. "If we needed any more proof that she doesn't take this office seriously enough, we have it now."
Xiaobo's popularity continued on after she managed to mostly deliver on her campaign promises and she easily won reelection after a short campaign in 3198.
After winning the presidency, Xiaobo retired from her professorship and offices in the University Parliament to focus on her new challenge. She continues publishing on political theory, though, and is a popular guest on interstellar political talk shows and regularly attends interstellar conferences and cultural events.
She is also an outspoken proponent of the ProgSoc movement on a sector-wide level and supports many sentient rights and environmental organisations in Asgard Sigma.
Xiaobo has never married but has maintained an on/off relationship with Dethro Dull lead singer Jon Rasmussen for over thirty years. She has famously said that she "do[es] not believe in the idea of relationships that are based on jealousy." She holds numerous citizenships, including Thorkatlan, Hoveydan, Anaximandan and Anaxian but has stated that she does not identify with any one over the other, instead considering herself Asgardian.
She keeps close contact with her parents and the other members of their line marriage. "I'm travelling a lot. They're travelling a lot. It's hard to meet up as much as we'd like but we try to make that happen as often as possible. Usually any one of them is somewhere in the area. *laughs* I've tried to convince mom that there's something worthwhile to dig up on Anaximander but so far I don't seem to have gotten through."
Xiaobo is an avid collector of garden gnomes, a peculiar prestellar cult item from Earth. She is reported to possess between 240 and 280 different garden gnomes, storing them in her home and a rented storage space on Anax One, which would make her collection the largest in the sector, public or private. While the purpose of garden gnomes remains obscure, Xiaobo has described her passion as a "guilty pleasure and an odd quirk, for sure but one that helps me wind down after a busy day." She has received much ridicule and even some enmity in the media for her hobby and has since started posting pictures of herself with her garden gnome Hans whenever she travels, saying that "[t]he garden gnome liberationists will never back down!"
She resides in her home on Anax One, refusing to relocate to a more luxurious house on Anaximander and commute to the University like most of the professors and her predecessors, arguing that she wants to keep in touch with "the beautiful, crazy, sickening, inspiring mess that is Anax One."
Xiaobo is a controversial figure in the sector and has drawn immense praise and harsh criticism alike. Various commenters have called her "odd", "direct", "self-absorbed", "extremely charismatic", "highly dangerous", "courageous", "astonishingly humane" and "ice cold", mostly depending on political persuasion. Generally considered brilliant by most, she has been called "one of the greatest minds of our time", "a one-person force for good", as well as "the most nefarious political extremist I know." While praise tends to highlight her academic and political achievements, public speaking skills and the quality of her published work on logic and interstellar relations, criticism generally attacks her perceived idiosynchrasies or an overly cold reasoning and lack of empathy. Space has called her "Asgard Sigma's puzzling puzzle solver", accusing her of seeing problems, as well as environments, sentient relationships and people as puzzles for her to be solved. "And solve them she does with ever unerring persistence and brilliance. But while an admirable trait in many regards, Xiaobo makes it her own religion. A humanitarian crisis is a crisis to her not because she would genuinely care about anyone involved but because it represents an unsolved problem, a system that is out of order, a conundrum just waiting to be assailed by her immense mental capabilities. But what happens if those capabilities happen to find a fault where there would not be one to any person with the least bit of empathy? In that case, be afraid." Asked to comment, Xiaobo has just remarked that she feels "flattered" by the article.
Since becoming President of Anaximander University she has been featured on the cover of Space many times and generally ranks high in the magazine's "Space 100: The Most Influential People in the Sector".