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Oct 02

A fool’s reflection

Written by admin on Thursday, October 2nd, 2008 at 9:51 am
Filed under:Announcements, General | Tags:, , ,
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Our blog has been around for 5 months. Judging from our site traffic and the comments we get (over 12,600 and counting, plenty of them insightful), we are doing quite well.

However, some readers’ comments paint a very different picture.

On the one hand, we have some Chinese thinking “there is no use to play music to a cow.” On the other hand, we have some westerners (Joel) saying “you guys still have a ways to go before you’re able to actually engage mainstream Westerners in an intelligent exchange of views.” We also get comments from Youzi, who accused us “doing a disservice to both sides,” from Berlinf, who advised us to “keep a low profile” as we are foreigners here, and finally from EugeneZ, who suggested it might be the time to close this blog once and for all.

Those comments made me think long and hard. I consulted with our regular writers and I went back to read the early entries of this blog. One is them is “Who is Tang Buxi,” in which he explained why he was contributing to this blog. So I think maybe it’s time to explain why I am here by sharing my life experiences and perspectives.

Politics doesn’t run in my family. Before the PRC era, my maternal grandfather was a small businessman in Shanghai and my paternal grandfather was a customer official worked in HongKong. When CCP took control over China, they had the option to leave but chose to stay because to them and to their generation of Chinese, the CCP represented genuine “hope” and “change,” Needless to say, much of their energy and potential were wasted in the following years. My grandparents and their children would also personally pay a heavy price for staying, especially during the cultural revolution. However, what really amazes me to this day is that, despite their sufferings, as far as I know, they never became bitter. None of them regretted their choice.

Xujun Eberlein, the author of Apologies Forthcoming and the owner of Inside-Out China blog, once said,

“An astounding fact, one that is largely either ignored or unseen by Westerners, is that the Cultural Revolution was an “all-people movement.” … There was often no clear divide between victims and victimizers, and people took turns to be in both positions. “

Well, in a sense, she is right except some people were only eligible to be victims and my family unfortunately belonged to that group. My grandma would recount how my grandpa was savagely beaten by the Red Guards and was expelled from his own home. My parents would recall how they were not able to get jobs in big cities because of their “wrong” family background despite them graduating from one of the best universities in China. I remember my father talking fondly about flying between HK and Shanghai during weekends as a kid. But after 1949, he would not board another airplane again until fifty years later when he visited me in the US.

My family’s story is hardly unique nor extraordinary, I bet you can find thousand of Chinese of older generations, who, despite endured all those political upheavals and economic hardships, have made their own contributions to China and are proud of that.

When I started to remember things, the CR was near its end. But I still remember the song (无产阶级文化大革命就是好) because half of its lyrics is a repetition of the same line “The cultural revolution is good, just good, just good…”

A lot of political changes occurred soon after Zhou and Mao passed away. Life became more colorful. Stalls that rented picture books for Children (连环画小人书) sprinkled up along the streets. One of our neighbors bought a 9” black and white TV, and his home soon became a community entertainment center. My parents talked to my brother about the newly installed College entrance exam. People everywhere started to learn English.

Curious about the outside world, I often turned to the Voice of America and the Voice of Free China (Taiwan). At first, it was in secret. My dad would always ask me to turn the volume down to an almost inaudible setting for fear we would get in trouble (The strong Chinese interference signals didn’t help). Gradually, it would become not a big deal anymore.

Fast forward to May, 1989, a pair of lines of poetry (duilian, Chinese antithetical couplet) was pasted on the sides of entrance of our college dormitory building.

共产党,比基尼,一个中心两个基本点;
Community party’ bikini, one focus, two points;
新闻界,遮羞布,多种层次一种的确良.
News Media’s underwear, many layers, same fiber.

(Background: “One focus, Two fundamental points” policy. The “focus” is economic development. The two “points” are to continue “reform and openness” and to adhere to the “Four Principles,” which are socialism, the thought of Marx, Lenin, and Mao Zedong, the leadership of the CCP, and the “dictatorship of the proletariat.” 的确良(Dacron), trademark for a polyester fiber. It is widely used in men’s shirts at that time. )

Suddenly all was lost. We were furious. We wanted blood for blood. We knew the whole world was on our side but we were also powerless. Then the communist regimes fell across the Eastern Europe, we were jubilant and I thought CCP’s days were numbered. I was wrong. (For what it’s worth, I left a few comments (as CLC)  on this topic two years ago.)

Several years later, I came to the US to study and to work. I consider myself fortunate to be able to visit and live in a democratic society. Regardless of its faults, the US is a great country. I hope all Chinese citizens will one day enjoy the same freedom and human rights as Americans do today.

Despite my fondness of the West, I also became disillusioned at some levels with some of the media in the West in the advent of the 3/14 Lhasa riots and the subsequent protests. So when I saw the distorted coverage of the 3/14 Lasha riots and the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay in Paris and London, when the story of five girls (including one Tibetan) who were burned to death in the Lasha riots apparently not “news enough” in the English newspapers I read, when Jin Jing had to defend her torch in a wheelchair, I was left wondering, where can I find Chinese perspectives in English? There are the China Daily, a mouthpiece for the CCP, and the Epoch Times, which is basically an anti-China Daily. I don’t read them either, and for good reason. In the China related blogsphere, ESWN is a resourceful destination for Chinese views but it doesn’t allow comments. So I thought, “why can’t I start one?”

I don’t consider myself an intellectual and I had no idea how far can this blog go. Luckily, Buxi stepped up early and was soon joined by DJ, Allen and Nimrod. Together, they made this blog a huge success.

We have set a very high bar for foolsmountain. With initial passions from us fading away and the spotlight no longer on the Olympics, it may not be easy to maintain the same energy and quality level this blog once had. However, I think the original rationale to have a blog like this still stands, and we stand committed to building a community that pride itself on having civilized debates.

Despite our success so far, let’s make foolsmountain an even better place. For Chinese writers who have signed up but never write a post, and for all others who are willing and able, please start to share your experiences and perspectives. For non-Chinese who care about China and the role she should play on the international stage, please also contribute.

Foolsmountain is a two way bridge; please help us to build it. I especially thank people such as Joel, Damai, Otto Kerner who have submitted/translated posts, and also people like FOARP, S. K. Cheung, skylight, and The Trapped!, who hold views that are often opposite from mine or our writers’. While we often don’t agree, we are all citizens of the world. I hope we will all be here discussing, arguing, debating, and exchanging ideas – for many years to come ….

Note: I would also like to thank Allen for his suggestions and help in writing this post.


There are currently 21 comments highlighted: 16833, 16871, 16899, 16932, 16938, 16953, 16971, 16979, 16992, 16998, 17015, 17030, 17041, 17044, 17053, 17055, 17120, 17174, 17186, 17194, 17304.

185 Responses to “A fool’s reflection”

  1. Cerebus Says:

    I just felt inspired to say thank you for your work, and to tell you how much a lot of people appreciate this blog’s facilitating role. I have seen some amazing exchanges here, where wildly different opinions came into conflict, and it was encouraged and tolerated. You all are doing very good work indeed, and every comment you mention above actually says good things about your mission statement. I’m not Chinese, and I’m never going to agree with everything in China, but your team of writers and contributors have opened my eyes to the tremendous, enormous, overwhelming potential of China to be a force for good (whatever that means) in this fractured world.

  2. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    Admin,

    Your reflections has increased my admiration for you.

    However, I find myself in possession of a different philosophical approach to the ideological conflict between China and the West that prompted you into action on the internet.

    A mountain divides people, but also serves as a boundary, which regulates people’s behavior toward each other on the two sides. I think the fuss over China you found infuriating and frustrating in Western media is not solely a result of misunderstanding, or a cognitive mountain that blocks the Western view on China. It is partially a result of the absence of a clear boundary. Some people in the West feel they control the resources that China desparately needs, therefore in a position of giving and witholding. They can give or take away China’s “face” with respect to the Olympics, Tibet, etc. Because of their self-imposed “leadership” position, they felt no need to take the Chinese perspective on the situation; “just push em’ around; they know their place in the world”. Without establishing a personal a boundary, it is impossible for other people to behave around you. If you do not make your boundary clear, people who come to interact with you will have to establish your boundary themselves, pushing the envelope, as they say here in the US. At this critical moment when China steps into the world, the most important mission of the Chinese is to establish a clear boundary that gets respected. You would want your spot under the sun, would you not?

    We have no need for a mountain as a boundary between China and the West. However, a fence might be useful. What’s your opinion?

    Is there a profound misunderstanding about in the West? Are folks in the West really that naive and gullible that they fail to understand the true color of the Chinese society? I have serious doubts about this thesis. The American elite are among the most intelligent, driven and pragmatic members of the human species I have seen in the world.I am not talking about shallow types like Tom Friedman and David Brooks, but old dogs like Zbigniew Brzezinski and Henry Kissinger (who are still incredibly lucid),and their juniors Robert Zoillick and Fareed Zakari. The Americans who do not understand the China (and many other aspects of the world they live in), are the uneducated. They are the ones who keep asking you “are the Chinese allowed to travell outside of their hometown without written permission from the government?” Is it necessary to enlighten these people (removing the mountain in their mind)? Yes, it would be good for the benefit of their education. It is not necessary for the benefit of China or the Chinese people. America is rule by the elite, at the expense of the masses (which social economic segment contribute the largest amount of soliders sent to Iraq?). The divide in the American policy toward China is between the elite (on both the Liberal and Conservative sides) and the uneducated, not between the Democrats and Republicans.

    These are the incoherent thoughts inspired by your cogent arguments at this early morning hour.

  3. Netizen K Says:

    BXBQ has an excellent point.

    Admin,
    I don’t think misunderstandings between commenters are the issue. As I pointed out earlier, but seemed not referred in your post, the audience of this blog should be the 20,000 and 30,000 visiters, not the 20 or 30 commenters. Otherwise, you picked a few grains of sand, but lost a big watermelon.

  4. Netizen K Says:

    A format is a good post and lets commenters comment. The poster doesn’t get involved in responding to commenters’ comments.

  5. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    Netizen K’s # comment reminds me of a very wise saying I learned from my undergrad roommate, a big Northeastern dude with an accent of Zhao Benshan.

    “听见啦啦蛄叫唤你就不种地了?”

    Have a productive day everyone. I am freaking out thinking about the things ahead of me.

  6. kui Says:

    To admin.

    Please keep the good work up. I have enjoyed your blog so much. This is very insightful blog with so much info. It goes much deeper than BBC/ABC on China related issues.

  7. MutantJedi Says:

    Stone by stone, eh.

    I may not say much, but I’m one of the many who visit.

  8. justrecently Says:

    I’d say that as long as you enjoy running the blog, simply keep running it. The quality of the contents may go up and down (and what is good quality and what isn’t depends on the views of every individual reader anyway), but solid numbers of visitors always speak for themselves.

  9. sophie Says:

    Western and Chinese views are too different, sometimes even opposite.

    I have been commuting between Beijing and London every month recently, which allows me to keep connecting to the both sides. Sometimes i feel like traveling between two worlds – surrounded by all the news about ‘Berlin Olympic’, ‘boycotting Olympic’ … and landed in Beijing finding people were putting huge effort in preparing and expecting a big happy event. It makes me wonder what will happen if all the foreign news are suddenly unblocked in China, if English is not a barrier…

    I remember reading in a Chinese blog: one guy was complaining only see the Chinese media’s report on ‘torch relay in Europe’ instead of the original foreign news. Another person commented ‘if the original news are released in China, it would not be just ‘anti-carrefour’, it would be some serious blood events’.

    Can East meet West? after living abroad for many years, I haven’t reach that point even within myself. Often I feel like a person with split personalities due to the understanding of the both sides.

    Admin calls for sharing more Chinese perspective. Realizing the huge gap between the East and the West, I have been cautious on this. but, let’s try. here is an article presenting one of Chinese perspectives on the attitude to the Western Democracy.

    The United States is not a democratic “Salvation Army”
    http://en.chinaelections.org/NewsInfo.asp?NewsID=16855

  10. MoneyBall Says:

    Pretty much the same path I went through, loved US of A to death in the 80s and 90s, came over for 10 yrs pretty much remained apolitical, until March,14. I was as furious as in 1989, only this time was the other way around.

    No need to overthink, at the end of the day it’s just a blog, just as millions of others, no more no less. There’s very little mission to it, we post and comment because we want to speak, and be heard.

  11. Joel Says:

    I hope you guys keep on going! Five months is nothing… FM is just getting started.

    @BXBQ and Netizen
    The mountain is one of ignorance and misunderstanding, and all of us — you two, me, Mainlanders, and Westerners — have a lot of climbing/digging to do.

    Yes, there is a mountain of ignorance about China on the American side… I personally try to climb a tiny bit of it every day as a foreigner studying in China. It will probably be decades before I can climb high enough to get a really good view. But until you realize that Mainlanders — including people like yourself — also have their own mountain of ignorance about Westerners to overcome, then you will forever be frustrated.

    If you insist on looking down on people (“naive,” “gullible,” “uneducated”) who don’t understand Chinese society (do Chinese people really even understand Chinese society?), you will not have much productive communication with anyone who doesn’t already think like you. Fool’s Mountain isn’t anti-CNN.com.

  12. pug_ster Says:

    I’m glad this blog is here to have people to do straighttalk instead of the spoonfed propaganda we read in Western Media. Personally for me, I’ve lived here in the US for most of my life believing that US is the greatest country to live in until the Lhasa Riots.

    The Western Elitists has little interest in treating China with the same ‘compassion’ as their Western Allies. They paint China as a backwarded country and as a country ‘starving’ for democracy but China is a better country than that.

  13. Joel Says:

    @BXBQ
    Your comment contains some good examples of a classic cross-cultural communication mistake (we all make this mistake… it’s impossible to avoid completely). You take Chinese relational expectations and methods — like the need for clearly defined relational boundaries that “regulate behaviour,” or the focus on “face” and “respect” — and try to impose them on Westerners. But Westerners don’t think or relate in those terms; in fact, in some ways those values and expectations are contrary to some American ideals. So of course they don’t meet your expectations! But a big part of the problem is your incorrect expectations and assumptions about Westerners, which lead to you misinterpreting Westerners, which then adds to the mountain of misunderstanding and bad feelings.

    I could pull several examples from your comment, but I’ll limit myself to one:

    Some people in the West feel they … can give or take away China’s “face” … Because of their self-imposed “leadership” position, they felt no need to take the Chinese perspective on the situation; “just push em’ around; they know their place in the world”

    You aren’t describing how Western people feel or relate. You’re describing how Chinese bosses, local officials, or anyone who’s above anyone else in the Confucian social hierarchy acts toward those below them, and assuming that Westerners relate in the same basic way. You’re interpreting Westerners actions according to a Chinese/Confucian relational system. The problem is, that’s not how Westerners think or relate; we don’t think and act in those terms. For example, when Westerners think about their relationships, “giving or taking away face” doesn’t even cross our minds. Even if it did, it wouldn’t feel very important. So how can you expect the West to give China face? They won’t give China face. It has nothing to do with how they feel about China; it’s just because the West just doesn’t use “face.”

    Using a Chinese relational framework to form one’s expectations of Westerners and interpret Westerners’ words and actions doesn’t work. Westerners won’t meet your incorrect relational expectations. It sets you up for disappointment and misunderstanding. The resulting anger is caused by lack of understanding. This is a classic cross-cultural communication mistake, and we all do it all the time.

    The solution is for nonChinese to learn to interpret Chinese people’s words and actions according to Chinese culture, and for Chinese people to learn to understand other people according to their own cultures.

  14. Charles Liu Says:

    I’m glad to have found FM, after being completely disappointed by the “expat” blogs that are basically anti-China, under the disguises of “media”, “open communication”, “a foreigner’s [superior] take on China”, whatnot.

    For example when I asked about the obvious BS from FLG, many would privately discount it, but never publish anything fair and balanced when it comes to this issue. It is attitudes like this that FLG and many other half-truth, false image about China, get a free-pass in the West.

    BTW, FLG’s rehashed 70′s era anti-Soviet “vivsection” propaganda that surfaced two and half years ago during Hu Jintao’s stateside visit was the impetus for me to start blogging.

    If FLG disciples didn’t piss me off with their flyer, I probably would not have even found out what my goverment is doing to China.

  15. Bob Says:

    Bxbq’s characterization of the mindset of some Americans may sound harsh but it’s not unreasonable. With the news that IGF has cleared China in the women’s gymnast age controversy, I just stumbled upon a series of sports columns written by a woman named Christine Brennan on China’s Olympic Games in USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/community/tags/reporter.aspx?id=950

    Judge for yourself if the term brainwashed lunatic applies to her. I am no stranger to Sinophobia, but it still boggles my mind how in the world a spiteful wingnut like Brennan can be so prominently featured in the flagship of US main stream media. Considering the significant readership of USA Today, I shudder to think how many American minds are going to be poisoned continuously for god knows how many years.

    P.S. Extraordinary work by the admin and company to set up this blog. I laud your effort whole heartedly. But try not to get your hope too high, you might be disappointed.

  16. Steve Says:

    I discovered this blog exactly one week ago and to be honest, it’s the first one in which I ever felt comfortable contributing any comments. I wasn’t aware of the history and didn’t realize it has only been around for five months, which isn’t a very long time. I think it’s pretty informative and though some of the posts get personal at times, for the most part the discourse has been pretty civil. I think the key is not to be defensive if someone has a differing opinion. Once a post is submitted, it can’t be taken back and sometimes you have to live with inappropriate comments, but I’ve already seen quite a few people apologize or back down from some of their more divisive statements, which I believe is very encouraging. Sometimes people might feel frustrated and suggest you shut the blog down but later contribute once more, so I wouldn’t worry too much about that.

    Where should the blog go from here now that the Olympics are finished? You might want to move more towards cultural items. I think it would be interesting to have discussions such as or similar to the following:

    1. The indie music scene in China
    2. Why do SE Asia people refer to China as the “angry country” and is it valid?
    3. How is dating in China different than dating in the west?
    4. How much of the intense dislike for Japan in China is valid and how much is propaganda?
    5. In what way are Chinese and Taiwanese alike? In what ways do they differ?
    6. How are Chinese affected by living in the west and what adjustments are necessary when returning home?
    7. In what ways are Chinese and westerners’ ideas shaped by the films they see about each other’s countries?
    8. Who are the most accurate and unbiased reporters or media outlets if you want to be informed about China?
    9. For a first time visitor to China, what is “face” and how do you avoid losing it?
    10. Comments on articles in major publications such as this one from the Economist? http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12333103

    If some or all of these subjects have been covered previously, I apologize. Since I’m new here, I’m not very aware of your past discussions.

    China is such a diversified, interesting place that there is truly an endless list of topics that can be discussed. I’m probably older than most here and my experience is on the business rather than the academic side, so I’ll be stronger on some points and weaker on others. I look forward to learning from Chinese, Chinese Americans and other westerners who like me have lived there or married into the culture, or from westerners who haven’t been there but care deeply about the country and its people.

  17. Allen Says:

    @Bob, wow Brennan is quite a character! It’s one thing to come out straight and attack the rigor of the process … but quite another to be so categorically cynical about China, communism, Eastern Europe, Russia, the list goes on!

  18. Daniel Says:

    Keep up the never-ending good work FM. There’s so much to learn plus like most things in life, it’s a work-in-progress.

  19. Netizen K Says:

    I agree that many expat blogs are basically anti-China. That’s why the pre-Beijing Olympics visa tighten-up was welcoming news to many informed Chinese.

  20. FOARP Says:

    @Admin – I haven’t been around as much lately because I’ve been busy, but I am still a follower of this blog. Through this blog I have heard much to soften some of the rough edges of my opinion vis-a-vis the communist party. If I had not known it before, this blog would have certainly made me aware that there are those within the nationalist (small n) camp who are also quite reasonable in hoping that China can develop in a way suited to Chinese culture and conditions, I might not agree with their suspicion of foreigners, but this is hardly the biggest or most important thing about them. There are also those within the nationalist camp who harbour unreasoning hatreds capable of making this century mankind’s saddest yet if they ever acheive power.

    When I read BXBQ’s faux-intellectual, crypto-fascistic and isolationist ramblings all I can see are the signs that his world view lost touch with reality some time ago. This said, his articles do at least arouse strong feelings, and this is nothing bad – I say let him post, but don’t let his opinions drown out the other posters.

    There is only one regular commenter here who really gets my goat, and he is the author of these comments:

    “I caught FOARP spreading lies a number of times.”

    “FOARP has been caught making up things a number of times.”

    “I debunked a number of your false assertions and intentionally-left out important information in your comments in this blog. ”

    On each occasion I asked Netizen to come up with the offending comments, but he has not done so – will he do so now? If not, will he refrain from making claims which he cannot support?

  21. skylight Says:

    @Admin

    I am a bit shocked to learn that this website was created because Chinese people in USA are angry and furious at world media reports on protests in Tibet. Why are you so furious at world media reports on Tibet?

    Lots of world media covered the girls who burned in the second floor of the clothing shop… You should be more furious at Chinese media that didn’t tell anything about what happened before the violent protests in Lhasa on March 14th. What happened on March 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th? And what happened to all Tibetans who protested peacefully in Kham and Amdo in the following days?…If there is only a couple of “separatists”, why is it virtually martial law “light” in TAR today more than half a year after the protests in March. There are accounts Tibetans being shot even if they protested peacefully….. Why doesn’t Chinese media tell anything about this? This is what you should be furious about…but naturally this is not important for you as Chinese in USA, you only care about your own status as Chinese in USA, so if there is a negative report on Chinese colonial policy in Tibet, you immediately take it personally against all Chinese, “this must be part of racist attack on Chinese!” or “this will affect my status or future position in USA negatively”. Please think a little bit more about which policies which will be best for the harmony of China and not only about yourself and your situation in USA.

    Here is a report of 16 year old Tibetan girl, Lhundup Tso, who was shot after she put up a picture of Dalai Lama outside Chinese government office, why did Chinese media not report on this girl, but only on five burned girls?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDjvqiUgj1s

  22. Hongkonger Says:

    To this blog that helps remove the “log-in-ones-own-eyes,” I said bravo!

    Kudos, for all who comment to help spot each others’ Cultural Blind-Spots.

    I see here a group of fine civic-minded Chinese folks doing their noble humanitarian duties with the support of the bloggershphere community. It is indeed a marvelous thing.

    Naturally, there are a lot of fun, sweat, satisfaction and the inevitable infliction of frustrations involved in any worthwhile human activities.

    Here’ are a few words of reminder from the world’s greatest bands: “You can’t always get what y’want, but if you try, sometimes, y’d get what y’need (The Rolling Stones),

    I have climbed highest mountains, I have run through the fields / I have scaled these city walls
    These city walls Only to be with you, I have spoke with the tongues of angels, I have held the hand of a devil, It was warm in the night, I was cold as a stone
    I believe in the Kingdom Come, When all the colors will bleed into one, Bleed into one
    Well, yes I’m still running, But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for, But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for (U2)

  23. BeijingRick Says:

    I don’t have a lot to say here, except “Thanks!” for making this information available to me. I’ve moved here and plan to stay here for many years. I like to know what’s going on in the world around me. It’s hard to find informative, reliable, and unbiased sources. I’m not that interested in the opinions of anonymous unknowns, though occasionally some can be logical, creative and insightful. But I won’t continue to visit here if I only find opinion pieces. I’ll only keep coming back to this site if I keep finding real news here. That’s why I like Steve’s suggestions and skylights contributions. Please give us more access to the truth.

  24. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Hker:
    to me, you have excellent taste in music.

  25. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To BeijingRick:
    I agree with you in principle. But I’m not sure where to find the unvarnished truth, since every “truth” we try to access is in fact someone else’s version thereof.

  26. Steve Says:

    “…since every “truth” we try to access is in fact someone else’s version thereof.”

    Ah, S.K. Cheung, you have given me an idea for a very interesting topic! “Do Chinese see truth more as relative and westerners more as absolute?” You just stated truth to always be relative, while many in the west would say most truth is absolute and some would say ALL truth is absolute. Could this be a cross-cultural sticking point?

    I’m not trying to start a discussion right now about this; I just thought it might be something to toss around later. It could help a guy like BeijingRick in getting settled into his new life.

  27. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve:
    based on what you’re written recently, I very much look forward to your upcoming discussion. As far as I’m concerned, the only absolutes are zero kelvin, death, and taxes.

  28. Li Qiang Says:

    So far the dialogue between the West and China has been conducted in the logic and language of the West. And the matters discussed are directed to criticism of China, and most respondence from Chinese viewers tend to be defensive. Joel’s attack on BZBX also follows this Orientalist perspective, a mentality rejecting Confuscian approach to dialogue and implying superiority of the Western way of reasoning, which I reject.

    And personaly I have lost interest in a discussion on China dominated by the Western-centred mentality. Western reasoning, usuful as it is for Western matters, does not well fit a discourse of Chinese culture. At a time when “Paulson kneeing down while Chinese Takonauts walking in space”, the craps that still occupy some Western media look foolish in its style and inferior in its substance.

    The question is – who still really cares what a brainwashed, and lamp, duck say? Perhaps it’s the time that the declining West is keener to learn how to more effeciently communicate with Chinese, and indeed in Chinese.

    I like this blog, where I found the most intelligent Chinese intellectuals who have the most insightful understandings of both the West and China, and the most willing Western commentators who try to understand Chinese way of thinking. I suggest we go on, but change the subject and rules. Let’s make it a place where we scrutinise Western society, using Chinese rules. In this sense I concur BZBX, to set a boundary.

  29. chriswaugh_bj Says:

    Oh, I dunno. Playing music to cows is probably a good idea. Cows have feelings too, you know. Of course, you’d have to choose your music carefully. No cow I ever met has been a heavy metal fan, for example.

    Don’t let the nay-sayers get to you. This is an excellent blog and all the contributors do a superb job of making Chinese voices available to the wider world, which is something I think is increasingly necessary.

    If I have any criticism of Fool’s Mountain, it is that discussions have a tendency to devolve into a China/USA polarity, and too often the words West and Western are used as if they were synonymous with America and American. BXBQ and Joel provide a perfect example of what I’m talking about in this very thread. But that’s a very minor criticism and does not reflect in any way on the authors or commenters on this blog. It means it’s incumbent on us non-American-non-Chinese to make our voices heard, too.

    But like I said, this is an excellent blog. Keep up the good work.

  30. Hongkonger Says:

    BeijingRick #23

    I agree. I like Steve’s suggestions and skylights contributions too. Unfortunately, the truth is in fact as SKC, whom I suspect is a Lawyer, describes in #25

    BTW, Two of my best friends are lawyers. One is a barrister, the other an attorney at law.

    S.K. Cheung # 24

    谢谢 :-)

    Some of my favorite music artists are Canadians. From the 70s Neil Young, 80s Rush, 90s Alannah Myles (What a voice), to David Myles just to name a few. I once saw in a blues pub somewhere in Vancouver where a dude with half-a-left-arm who totally blew me away with his guitar playing skills on his Gibson Les Paul.

    Steve # 26

    I don’t think the Chinese see truth as relative. I know the truth is not just about facts, because like statistics, they are misleading. ONly very young kids believe in the truth, and see things as black & white.
    Statements such as “Mao killed millions,” we all know is in fact neither factual nor the truth, but taken literally certain distorts ones perception and interpretation of Chinese history, culture & philosophies. I mean even the so-called books, scriptures, scrolls which claim to convey truths like the Bible, for example, or history books, school text books etc are often like notes on classical music scores left by the long deceased composers which must be interpreted and reinterpreted for the contemporary audience.
    The News almost never tell the truth.

  31. RMBWhat Says:

    Man… This blog is very confusing to me. One one hand, I feel enlightened by the discussions. But then I read Li Qiang wrote above that just makes me feel dirty. This us against them ugliness that I see which permeates the entire human race.

    Then I read Joel’s post above and go what? That’s the equivalent of Li Qiang’s post, but just twisted around differently to appear different. What is face? Western society does not have the concept of face? What about keeping up with the joneses? The western society also has many of these subtle us against them shit…Of course you don’t see it, the same as Li Qiang not seeing his b.s. No ones sees their own reflections in the mirror. It’s just perpetual double think (which, not surprisingly, includes my own stink of a rant). It’s the limitation of our existence. (Although I believe that we have a connection, a universal spiritual connective, that we sometimes can get into touch with. But mostly our existence is without this connection. We are bound within this prison which keeps us from our true unbound consciousness.)

    The stink permeates the entire human race.

    I hate you all.

    Good bye. I will be back tomorrow to rant some more. Unless the Admin ban me, in which case bite me. (actually I will just spoof my ip).

    P.S, this blog thing, what is it really about? I mean step back and look at exactly for what it really is. A bunch of strangers writing pages after pages of words, pointless, usless, meaningless masturbatory discourses about NOTHING. None here really affects anyhing; the blog advances no bodies of knowledge.

    Total waste of analog signals.

    -Signed:
    BALL of Negative Energy.

  32. TommyBahamas Says:

    “Unless the Admin ban me”

    WHY would Admin do that, your comments are pretty good and insightful.

    “meaningless masturbatory discourses about NOTHING.”

    LOL. See, there you are quite right, again.

    “Don’t knock it, afterall you are making love to the ONE you truly love.” Woody Allen :-)

  33. Li Qiang Says:

    Tommy Bahamas and RMBwhat, u need some lubricants.

  34. TommyBahamas Says:

    Let’s make it a place where we scrutinise Western society, using Chinese rules. In this sense I concur BZBX, to set a boundary.

    First of all it is BXBQ. Secondly, the lubricants are respect and openmindedness. Finally, We do scrutinize Western Society using Chinese rules. This is why we are likewise being scrutinized by the West.

    “Perhaps it’s the time that the declining West is keener to learn how to more effeciently communicate with Chinese, and indeed in Chinese.”

    I have the same fantasy as you discribes above, Li Qiang. As for doing it in Chinese, well, there are tens of thousands of Chinese blogs out there. FM is unique in that it is not another arrogant (Euro-centric, American-centric) expat China-bashing, poster-banning & heavy-censoring blog.

  35. Steve Says:

    People, I think we’re getting a bit off topic here. Admin was looking for suggestions to improve and spur on the blog, and ways to keep the content interesting and informative where we can look at the world in new ways and challenge our accepted thinking.

    Personally, I think the best way is when giving an opinion, back it up with concrete examples from your own experiences and/or something theoretical or practical you might have read or studied. I try to take news reports with a large grain of salt, since I’ve known too many reporters and most of them while excellent writers, leave much to be desired as to content. In my own field, every media report I’ve ever read has been flat out inaccurate, so I have to believe it permeates the media industry in general. As for editorialists, I think most of them are blowhards who write to incite and not to inform.

    I feel I can learn more from people like yourselves who have true experience and real life examples to use when illustrating a point. I enjoy the differing viewpoints, since those views had to come from your own experiences. I always get a kick out of those intrepid reporters who take a two week trip to China and comes back with all sorts of opinionated observations, when anyone who’s lived there knows they don’t have a clue. But rather than just popping out an opinion, let us know how you reached your conclusion and I think it might open all our minds a bit wider.

    S.K. Cheung and Hongkonger, thanks for the comments. I’d love to respond since I think it’s a fun and interesting subject (my opinion might surprise you) and could illustrate different ways of seeing the world, but I don’t want to get off topic so hopefully Admin will bring it up by itself later on. In the same vein, I’d like to have a discussion one of these days about guilt vs. shame, their definitions and relative importance in China and the west. I think that’d be one BeijingRick would appreciate.

    RMBWhat, trust me… there are differences, as my shins can attest to since my wife kicked them enough under the table when we first married and I was in social situations with other Chinese. I can still feel the residual pain, ha ha! As the philosopher Bertrand Russell once said, “A civilized Chinese is the most civilized person in the world.” I believe he was referring to my wife…

  36. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Well, sounds like Li Qiang is cut from BXBQ’s cloth. Terrific! Double the fun. The more the merrier.

    I guess some people build bridges; and some people would rather build walls. As I always say, whatever floats your boat. But to the wall builders: don’t forget to rough-in a door, and maybe a window to allow some light to penetrate your darkness.

  37. The Trapped! Says:

    Hi everybody, very happy to see that everybody here is eager to maintain the blog well, if not improved. Something that I do feel little bit uncomfortable about is this newcomer ‘Li Qiang’. He seems to be even more aggressive than Wahaha( actually, Wahaha has his limit as well. His nature is switching between rational thought and emotional burst-out and in that sense we both are on same boat.) Hope he soon can learn civilized manner of discussion from this blog.

    What I don’t like about some Chinese commentator here is that, whenever someone say something against China, they immediately assume him/her to be a Tibetan (like: “Are you a Tibetan?” or “You must be a Tibetan.”), as if Tibetans are their core enemy. That’s unfair.

  38. bert Says:

    What comes around goes around…China included.

    People always talk about how unfair the “western” media is to China. I’d love to hear some of the propaganda that was spread to the masses 30 or 40 years ago in China about the”West”. Most of the commentors weren’t even around at that time. Look in a mirror from time to time and consider.

  39. 游子 Says:

    Note: Rory has kindly translated this comment into English (#92).
    致Admin:
    从你的发言看,你很有可能是上世纪70年代人,或者是60年代末。这样我们的年龄相差无几。我的祖父母
    和父母辈也受到了历次政治运动的迫害。我们家下放到农村,我们兄弟姐妹也是在农村长大。好在通过自身努力,我考上大学。在北京读完大学后,又到沿海某大城市政府机关工作。

    你说到:My family’s story is hardly unique nor extraordinary, I bet you can find thousand of Chinese of older generations, who, despite endured all those political upheavals and economic hardships, have made their own contributions to China and are proud of that. 前半句我同意,我们家也可以作为例证。但后半句语义模糊,容易造成理解上的分歧。因为中国这个词实在意义广泛,它可以指一种文化,一个国家,一个具体政权,还可以从人类学上去理解。而且即使是从每个方面去理解,你又会发现可以分出更多更细的亚种类。比如从文化方面说,中国文化就不仅仅是汉族文化,还有很多独立性很强的少数民族文化;即使是汉族文化,南方与北方也有很大差距。因此,把中国视作一个高度同一性的集合,本身并不是科学的。我们都可以说为中国感到自豪,但我们的理解可能千差万别。比如我父亲虽然也一直认同自己的中国人身份,但他绝不原谅当年毛泽东政权将其定为“右派”并进行迫害的罪行。也许你的祖辈和父辈认为历史恩怨可以勾销(我稍感好奇的是,你对日本侵华的历史是否也持相同态度),但在大多数人心中,是非曲直必须有个判断和说法,不能如此糊涂了事。若不如此,谁知将来的中国会不会又发生残暴的政治迫害?你生活在美国,可以不管,我们生活在中国,必须对这段历史牢记在心,防止悲剧重演。

    说到这里,某些海外华人可能会很生气地说:如今的中国蒸蒸日上,人民富足,社会进步,历史已经过去,老是算这笔旧账干什么?我们应该让全世界都知道我们的伟大,让全世界都尊敬我们。---这恰恰是普通中国人与某些海外华人的认知和心态差异。某些海外华人在乎的是外国人的尊敬,普通中国人在乎的是自身权益在本国受到保障。另外,能够举办豪华的奥运会并发射太空飞船,就意味着人民富足,意味社会进步?坦率说,我周围的普通中国人并无此感受。作为一个喜欢思考的人,我认为,在发展经济的口号下,政府有意淡忘历史的伤痛,而造成历史伤痛的根源,至今仍未得到有效抑制。这个病根就是不受制约的权力。要治这个病根,靠中国传统文化是没希望的。因为中国传统政治文化中,专制和等级不可或缺。在政府机关工作的这十几年,使我对此感受尤深。除了民主、法治、人权,我看不出还有什么医治的药方。

    关于和谐,我认为,只有在保障公民权利的基础上,才有可能建立真正的和谐社会;专制下的和谐,只是自欺欺人的假象。我建议你下次回北京时,不要只在中上层场所游玩,可以抽空去“上访村”或者各政府机关信访接待处转转,也许会有所收获。我在政府部门是从事法律工作的,所以你就不要对我说什么“可以依法维护权利”这样的话。我也与Skylight一样感到奇怪:你开这个论坛的原因,就是西方某些媒体在西藏以及火炬事件中的不公正报道。若是如此,你更应该开论坛关注一下中国的媒体,看看专制下的媒体与自由言论下的媒体,哪个更令人恶心。 如果你还要用中国文化这个词来为中国媒体辩护的话,那只有用圣经里的话来回复:有人看到别人眼里有沙粒,却看不到自己眼里有木柱。

    最后结语:中国和中国文化不是没有缺点的,特别是在政治文化和体制方面,中国有重大缺陷,这个重大缺陷令在中国生活的中国人遭受了许许多多的痛苦,至今记忆尤新。如果你们海外华人在与外国人交流过程中,刻意忽略甚至美化这个缺陷,那就不仅仅是你们的事,而是在侮辱许许多多遭受过政治迫害的中国人。你们不但不会因此而赢得外国人的更多的尊敬,反而会受到普通中国人的蔑视。

    我不久之后会从事律师职业,准备致力于刑事辩护。如果能够帮助到有需要的弱势人群,我会很开心的。这总比在政府机关浪费纳税人的钱更有意义。

    另:有个叫Hongkonger的有此言论:Statements such as “Mao killed millions,” we all know is in fact neither factual nor the truth, but taken literally certain distorts ones perception and interpretation of Chinese history, culture & philosophies. I mean even the so-called books, scriptures, scrolls which claim to convey truths like the Bible, for example, or history books, school text books etc are often like notes on classical music scores left by the long deceased composers which must be interpreted and reinterpreted for the contemporary audience.看后无语。想不到香港也有这样的脑子。

  40. Richard Says:

    I think Joel’s wrong to say that face isn’t an issue in western (American) society, but he may be right to identify a misreading of face as part of BXBQ’s view on living in America. After all face is an English word, commonly used in the same way as it is in chinese. the difference is the relationship between face and hierarchy, which is far more inflexible (as I understand it) in China than in the west. Face in the west often depends on setting aside your position in the hierarchy for practical and egalitarian reasons (not being a pompous git, as we would put it), while in China asserting your place in the hierarchy is seen as normal, and sometimes in fact more honest. (god preserve us from the faux-egalitarians)
    I sympathise with both BXBQ and Li Qiang in their desire to establish a fence, or a place where a Chinese discourse can develop. However, they are wrong to think that American supremacists are the main enemy. The main obstacle is that China is working within a (Russian, incidentally) political system that does not allow it, and which to keep itself in power has outsourced the intellectual and creative thinking necessary to keep a society moving forward to western institutions rather than reform its own. Why is BXBQ in American academia, not in Chinese academia? This incidentally, is the implication of all Yasheng Huang’s brilliant work on the Chinese economic model (see the economist review linked to by Steve).
    Li Qiang – perhaps you could help us by describing and explaining Chinese rules of logic and reasoning, non-defensively. This is actually a genuine question. It is often said that Chinese/Eastern and Western(often American) logic and reasoning is very different. Yet at the heart of western thought nowadays is the assumption that some principles are universal: this derives from many things, but perhaps most importantly from the philosophical proofs of Frege and Russell that mathematical and logical principles were at heart the same. The Chinese education system lays a lot of stress on maths, but also stresses the separateness of western and Asian principles of philosophy. Were Frege and Russell wrong?
    Russell was, of course, your classical western liberal and, when he visited in the 30s, a great admirer of China.

  41. chriswaugh_bj Says:

    Truth is absolute, but absolute truth is unattainable. The best any of us can hope for is a vague and distant glimpse of the truth. And that, my dears, is the beauty of a blog that provides a forum for intelligent, respectful and open-minded discussion: Through the exchange of ideas, we can all (including those like myself who usually remain passive observers) put our own ideas to the test and weigh up the opinions of others, and thereby hopefully come a little closer to truth.

  42. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Chriswaugh_bj:
    word.

  43. Chops Says:

    “None here really affects anyhing; the blog advances no bodies of knowledge…”

    Making a mountain out of a molehill? 8)

  44. kui Says:

    To the trapped,

    Are you talking in a civilised manner?

  45. AndyR Says:

    Great post. I hope you guys can continue along the same lines, however, I would like more original writings from people a little more moderate than BXBQ whose posts have failed to move beyond the West vs. China mindset. Honestly, since this blog first came out I’ve been hoping for it to become just the type of place you mentioned above, but have been continually put off by three related things: 1. Many of the writings have been too defensive against the West and particularly America because of the pre-olympic buffoonery (from both sides). Time to move on. 2. Many posters represent themselves as speaking for “the Chinese people” rather than themselves, which confuses me since many are currently living in the US and the Chinese population is so vast and multi-varied that asserting a singular “Chinese perspective” is absolutely ridiculous. 3. There are real issues in China that need to be addressed and solved in order to advance this country. These issues will not be solved by constantly attacking the West for its perceived ignorance, so why doesn’t this blog address some the issues honestly and from a Chinese perspective rather than constantly going on the defensive when a problem with Chinese society is pointed out? BXBQ’s post on the Sanlu milk powder was horrendous. This was a serious problem that exposed some of the real flaws in the Chinese system and put thousands of children in danger, so why go to such great lengths to put a “positive” spin on it? Why not point out what was exposed and suggest ways that things could be improved? This is the kind of honesty I would like to see more of here because I think we can all agree that most of the Chinese people would not have put a “positive” spin on the Sanlu problem. If most Chinese wouldn’t have described it this way, can we honestly say that Fool’s Mountain is “Blogging for China”? If you really want to “defend” the Chinese people, then the injustices caused by the imperfections of a developing political system within China seem to be more worthy of commentary than any Western misunderstanding. Wish you all the best in the future.

  46. GNZ Says:

    I think Joel is right in general – Westerners of course have a wide range of reasons for ‘attacking’ China and many of those are things that could be considered bad motives. But BXBQ’s interpretation of westerners doesn’t seem plausible to me.

    Bob,
    the IGF ‘clearing’ the gymnasts doesn’t mean they were not under age. Truth emerges from the facts it doesn’t descend from authority. Sure she is a bit upset but she believes (and not without evidence) that there is something wrong in the system.

  47. Nobody Says:

    你们不但不会因此而赢得外国人的更多的尊敬,反而会受到普通中国人的蔑视。

    另:有个叫Hongkonger的有此言论:Statements such as “Mao killed millions,” we all know is in fact neither factual nor the truth, but taken literally certainly distorts ones perception and interpretation of Chinese history, culture & philosophies. ……..看后无语。

    游子的”看后无语,” 意思是?????

    Many of the writings have been too defensive against the West and particularly America because of the pre-olympic buffoonery (from both sides). Time to move on.

    To be fair, I think the “too” defensive was in response to “too” much purposeful malicious attacks. But you are right, IT IS time to move on…

    ” I think we can all agree that most of the Chinese people would not have put a “positive” spin on the Sanlu problem. ” Totally agree :-)

  48. The Trapped Says:

    དམ་པ་ཁྲོས་ཀྱང་བཏུད་ན་ཞུ།།
    དམན་པར་བཏུད་ན་ལྷག་པར་རེངས།།
    གསེར་དངུལ་སྲ་ཡང་བཞུ་ནུས་ཀྱི།།
    ཁྱི་ལུད་བཞུས་ན་དྲི་ངན་འབྱུང་།།

    A wise man can be pacified even when he is upset,
    A fool man will get even more angry if you try to pacify him.
    Gold and silver can be melted even though they are tough,
    But trying melting a dog shit will only give you bad smell.

  49. Nobody Says:

    Huh??????

    A fool can be pacified even when he is upset,
    A wise man will get even more angry if you try to pacify him with foolish words.
    Gold and silver are but mineral ores before going through the refinery fire
    But why would a wise man wanna burn dog shit?
    I think cow dung works better as cheap natural fuel.

  50. The Trapped Says:

    As imply by your name of “Nobody”, you are nowhere close to understand this kind of philosopical implication. So, be cool and enjoy your chocolate. Oh well, not Sanlu powder.

  51. vadaga Says:

    我比较支持AndyR在上面(45)所提出的第二点和第三点。。。

  52. Allen Says:

    @Andy #45,

    2. Many posters represent themselves as speaking for “the Chinese people” rather than themselves, which confuses me since many are currently living in the US and the Chinese population is so vast and multi-varied that asserting a singular “Chinese perspective” is absolutely ridiculous.

    Yes and No. I think the unity of China against the shenanigans associated with the Torch relay is real. In that respect, there is a “Chinese” perspective. But hopefully with the conclusion of a successful Olympics, perhaps things will get back to normal and we will begin to see here on this board also the wide diversity of opinions that reside in the Chinese community all over the world.

  53. Nobody Says:

    Andy,

    2. Many posters represent themselves as speaking for “the Chinese people” rather than themselves, which confuses me since many are currently living in the US and the Chinese population is so vast and multi-varied that asserting a singular “Chinese perspective” is absolutely ridiculous.

    Like Allen says, Yes and no. Like the so-labelled “victim mentality of the Chinese people.” What Total BS – I have never felt that, neither do I admire those perceived to be more fortunate than I am. There are overseas Chinese who feel trapped while those who live in China Who appreciate the increasing freedom they enjoy. The latter, in fact, do feel free and less confused.
    Many people in China I know are so used to propaganda, they are not bothered by it. Many are a lot quicker to identify & dismiss them than I can.. Speaking of which, neither are Tibetans all anti-China or pro-west. There are many who are free but pretend that they are trapped, (like some rich folks I know who are always pretending to be poor) and those who are perhaps viewed by others as “trapped” who continue to live an honest and dignified life, asking for no sympathy, advocating no violence, cahooting with no wolves in sheep clothing, nor pretending to speak for or on behalf of the people of Tibet.
    In light of all this, let us try not to be, as Steve calls it, “blowhards who write to incite and not to inform.”

  54. MoneyBall Says:

    I dont believe there is so called truth at all in politics and international affairs(ie China v West). where there is is reality, and peception is reality. When it comes to perception, where your ass is decides where your head is. That’s why sophie in #9 wondered the vast difference between GB and China on olympics, and some other deeply intelligent and noble posters from both sides came so far off in this thread.
    While you cant move your ass, what you can do is to reach your head over and listen, then back off. What was just exchanged and compromised wasnt truth, nor subject, it was just perception.

  55. The Trapped! Says:

    Well, it seems Allen is right. Both Olympics went pretty successfully, followed by Shenzhou 7. When 59th National Day came, Chengdu has already come back to its normal mood; unlike boycott carrefour days, no strange eyes are given either to Tibetans or westerners. Go to to Jiuyanqiao, everything is normal in D8s. In Shamrock and La French on Renmin Nanlu, Chinese girls are again chasing western guys while Chinese guys feel bit jealous. Go to Jah bar, Chinese rappers are mixed with western drummers. It seems only we nettters are the ones who feel a need of defensive voice and suspicious mind.

    So, maybe it’s time to dive deep into real current Chinese society, especially multi-cultured cities like Chengdu, and then take a deep breath to refresh ourselves like these happy Chengdu people.

  56. Hongkonger Says:

    游子 Says:”看后无语。想不到香港也有这样的脑子。” (I have nothing to say after reading this. I didn’t think there were such thinking in Hong Kong.)

    I have no idea what you mean by that?

    Perhaps I should explain what I meant by “statements such as “Mao killed millions,” we all know is in fact neither factual nor the truth,”

    I grew up hearing exactly that being said about Mao. But then I started reading about Mao by western & eastern authors who seem to be less extreme in their comments about China under Mao. I felt so brainwashed by the media when I begun to learn a little more about that. It was true, there were serious famines, earthquakes and other natural disasters which were horrible for many. And many died. Too many. There were revolutions on and off; the CR being one of them, and it was horrible for some. And many died. Too many.There were serious policy fiascos such as the GLF; political persecutions such as Let a hundred flowers bloom, the curbings of revisionism, etc. which were also horrible for some. There were national debts to pay and international (anti-Communist) persecution which was misrable for most in China.

    Finally, Unlike some of my scholarly friends both born in and outside of China in the 50s and 60s, I am not an admirer of Mao. But nowadays, nor do I see him as a monster as he was portrayed to me all my life growing up in westernized environment.

    Indeed, Moneyball is right, “What was just exchanged and compromised wasnt truth, nor subject, it was just perception.”

  57. Tenzin Says:

    Hello there, nostalgic already?

    Thanks for letting me know that one of the main reason for this site was to give the chinese perspective of Tibet and the protest across Tibet. The beginning point that you chose for chronicling the Tibet issue is very interesting.

    As a Tibetan I had no illusions about the goal of this site. I came here to read and maybe in my small way try to understand why Chinese that I meet overseas are the way they are when it comes to Tibet. And I thank this site for making me more informed.

    I couldn’t care less about the “Us (Chinese) vs. West” debate as it is a very simplistic and self-serving way to look at any issue.

  58. justrecently Says:

    Re: comment 39, 游子
    Hi You Zi, a sober view of the status quo, hard work without euphemisms but with dedication, may lay some foundations for a good future, no matter the constraints. In China, and everywhere else. I wish you success with your work.

  59. kui Says:

    To You Zi.

    You might think democracy, law and order, human rights is the solution for China ‘s problems. I agree with your list but in the condition of a different sequence: law and order first, then human rights( with the basic rights of food, shelter, healthcare, education first then comes other rights), then democracy. There is one thing missing from your list is education. Do you think China is a country ready for democracy? I do not think so. Democracy only works when there is a well educated and well informed population. Both the hardware and software needed for democracy are not properly built in China. There is a long way for China to go.

    To admin.

    I was one of the students protested on Tian An Men square. However, I was not on the square on the night.
    therefore not a qualified witness of the 6.4. My memory is fading away but my feeling about it is growing stronger. I want to write down my thought and post it as a minipost before 6.4 2009. Is that ok? If it is ok then I will try to finish it before may next year.

  60. justrecently Says:

    To you, Kui,

    I think once China has judges who are independent from the executive and the party in their verdicts, there will be a lot less reason to worry about human rights. Human rights are nothing high-flown, and not necessarily about one-man-one-vote or the range of political parties an individual might choose from. Human rights are in fact very practical. By creating independence for the judiciary (a good premise for law and order), human rights will be observed much better too. It is a strange idea that human rights and development should be at odds with each other.

  61. Lerclair Says:

    Hi, admin..

    First off, This is a great Blog. I came across this site a few months back. Well, actually, it was the HeXin Translation that got me here. Great article.. BTW, but still waiting for the rest of the translation (Hint).

    Anyway, I hailed from a four generation of Ethnic Chinese in South East Asia -”Democratic Singapore”. I was a very Pro-US supporter, until five years back, which I realised that it was because USA runs a very successful worldwide news networks, which is in fact a propaganda tool. All the crap about democracy and Freedom is only good if you are American, else their foriegn policy is for America’s Interest only, and Freedom and democracy is the excuse. They have pretty done much opposite preaching when it is in their interest… Latin America having seen the worst. These days Democracy means “Pro-West”. Democratically elected means crap if it’s isn’t Pro-west agenda.,. Chavez, Putin.

    I would not advise China to jump into Democracy that fast. China has a great number of ethnic groups and a huge population.. opinions differs greatly. Running elections would be like an “American Idol” entertainment program – which is popularity, and this is a negative aspect. It opens the door for corporation manuplilation, due to fundings. Don’t be the next America. Being democratic also opens the door to Foreign manuplilation, which I’m sad to review that politicians can be bought.. – France’s Sarkozy for one. You should also know that there were intentions to split up China for past 60 years now. They made used of ethnic divide for this purpose, and openly says so. They have supported Dalai Lama for “Greater Tibet” 1/4 of China, Uighurs for another 1/4 and Outer Mongolia. And this would be realised, should C ! A directed “TianAnMen Incident” were to be successful. Many people does not realised the TianAnMen was the first “Color revolution” that failed.

    Why am I seemed so negative about Democracy when I grew up in One ? I see America having a bullshit democracy model while going around the installing something they don’t exactly preach themselves, and having lived in a Chinese dominated democratic society. I have the opinion that a country should take into culture, ethnic and survival to formuate what kind of government system that works for them. For Singapore, while being more Authoritarian than democratic, and for all the grumbling that the citizens makes, they know that at the end it’s what their nation needs to survive and succeed. Freedom to us, is roof over our heads, walks the streets safe, earn money and ample food. Much like Chinese people in China. We need (or wants) a strong competent leader, to us is Lee Kuan Yew, much like Mao (Though I admire Deng, not Mao). Democracy alone does not eradicate Corruption.

    China should continue it’s present political course, and not succumbed into another flawed democratic nation like India or Taiwan. Chinese society, By and Large, in general, are collective in nature.

    Just my 2cents

  62. Allen Says:

    @Lerclair,

    Freedom to us, is roof over our heads, walks the streets safe, earn money and ample food. Much like Chinese people in China.

    I’m on-board with you on this. As I have said before, personal freedom is a function of many factors, including economic resources, technological know how, social morale, cultural factors, government regulations, a peaceful and stable environmen, etc. Freedom is about both empowerment as well as getting government off your back. But getting government off your back does not mean retreating from government’s duty to maintain an environment of peace and stability.

    Take free speech as an example. Sure we want people to have free speech in China – but if the cost of free speech today is chaos (personally am not sure if that is necessarily true), then the government must take the initiative to regulate free speech for the common good.

    I am not arguing whether there should or should not be more tolerance in the media in modern China. (There should probably be more, not less.) But please view political rights such as free speech in light of all these other factors – not just “rights” per se.

  63. Allen Says:

    @Lerclair,

    What, in your view, is “wrong” with Taiwan’s democracy?

  64. Joyce Hor-Chung Lau Says:

    Thank you for that insight into your personal background.

    This site is great. Never mind the detractors — there will always be some. No blog can fulfill every role. So far, you’ve found a way of expressing yourself well (sometimes humorously), you’ve stirred up arguments on important issues, people read you, and you’ve got a cute name. What else could a blogger want?

    The idea that every piece of writing should be perfectly agreeable, packed with facts and have some immediately apparent use goes against the very idea of free conversation and debate — a concept that big ball of anger named RMBwhat seems to be struggling with.

    You’re right about the lack of English-language media written from a Chinese perspective that is not a controlled state organ. Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, which is outside of the CCP’s control at least technically, has some of that. But it’s only one paper.

    A note for Bianxiangbianqiao, who I believe I’ve tango-ed with before on this site. (See, Fools Mountain? Bringing people together!)

    I’m HK Chinese and work for that big, bad wolf called the Western media (the IHT). I’ve also gone into the belly of the beast and did journalism research at a Western university in a program in which I visited the offices of other evil Western media like Reuters and the BBC.

    There are many problems in media — there’s no way so much information can be produced so quickly for all of it to be perfect. However, I guarantee you that news editors do not sit around discussing some imaginary power struggle between West and East. It would be crazy if we spent time to ponder if every article would make McCain/Palin lose face, or Iraqis lose face, or starving Africans lose face, or Chinese lose face, etc. Just look at major newspapers openly criticizing the U.S. president and the American central government. Obviously, “face” is not being taken into consideration.

    Every day, we hold a news meeting to discuss articles from all over the world. We look at whether it’s an interesting subject, if the reporter did a good job in finding facts and interviews, if it’s a “scoop,” if it’s exciting, if our competitor has run it yet, etc. Sometimes we’re right, sometimes we’re wrong. But we do not plot in some theoretical conflict in which we are like puppeteers that can “give” or “not give” face to the people of China. Actually, many of our reporters live in China and like China. I like China. It’s not as simple as “like” vs “dislike”, “face” vs “no face.”

    Actually, the idea that media is used as a tool to give favor to some, and shame to others — as controlled by some greater body playing a power struggle — is very Chinese. The CCP and Foreign Ministry are happy to have rousing, fiery editorials insulting Westerners when it helps them to rouse nationalism, then run calming editorials when they fear protests are getting out of hand.

  65. RMBWhat Says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH…

    LOL. I made some journalist respond to some nonsense.

    I’m outa here. Self censorship starts now. At least I had my laugh… I know, I’m aware that karma is prolly going to get me *shrugs*

    Seriously. We have very different views on the media. I can see where you are coming from. But you will never be able to see from my point of view, it’s just too crazy for you.

    *shrugs*

    We operate on different wavelength. There are stuff that I think about where your mind would never think about; we just don’t have the same neural wiring for these kinds of things that I’m talking about. I may feel something because of my experiences. You may never have those feelings, because you never had my kind of experiences. Go and be a good drone for your journalistic masters.

  66. GNZ Says:

    Lerclair,
    the tide of international media (which includes blogs)has turned against the USA) in most countries it is a bad political strategy to seem friendly with the USA. So I don’t think we can say we are rebelling against the medias propoganda machine if we are changing our story when they tell us to.

    I see the problem for the US being that they have not been ‘selfish’ enough. they have tolerated criticism in ways China would not allow, and have attacked themselves (e.g. democrats vs republicans) and have in part had objectives like “to make Iraq democratic” and have spent hundreds or thousands of billions to do that. Obviously none of this has helped the USA in a economic or political power sense – so either they are stupid or they are ‘idealists’ – I suggest more the latter than the former.

    I don’t think there is really a coherent story to tell that paints the US as how most of us try to paint them, generally we just regurgitate Chomsky’s arguments etc.

    > They have supported Dalai Lama for “Greater Tibet”

    Tibet isn’t the powerhouse of China – China will come to dominate the USA with or without Tibet. Not saying I think they should be independent (they shouldn’t), just that there is not nearly as much at stake as you might think.

  67. Allen Says:

    @GNZ,

    I see the problem for the US being that they have not been ’selfish’ enough. they have tolerated criticism in ways China would not allow, and have attacked themselves (e.g. democrats vs republicans) and have in part had objectives like “to make Iraq democratic” and have spent hundreds or thousands of billions to do that. Obviously none of this has helped the USA in a economic or political power sense – so either they are stupid or they are ‘idealists’ – I suggest more the latter than the former.

    If I read you right – you really believe in the face value of the rhetorics of American foreign policy. You really believe America is fighting for freedom, democracy, and human rights for the good of the un-enlightened mass of the rest of the world.

    Maybe I read you wrong.

    But if that’s what your world view is – BOY – are we going to have fun arguing against each other on this board in the future! ;-)

  68. Charles Liu Says:

    Congrats, FM is on Google News

  69. admin Says:

    First of all. Thank you all for your comments and encouraging words. I am sorry to not respond sooner since I had a lot of catch-up to do for my real job.

    This blog was initially set up in response to the lack of Chinese perspective in the English media and to the criticism against China from the West. However, time has moved on and this blog is also expanding its scope into building a bridge between China and the West as well as promoting a better China.

    @BXBQ,
    You have an interesting point. However, I think a stable interpersonal boundary between people can be formed only after sufficient mutual understanding and mutual respect. In the end, if we look beyond clashing politics and manipulating elites, all people are individuals. What I hope is that, through honest and civilized dialogue, we will earn each other’s understanding and respect.

    @Netizen K,
    I think the key issue is not about whether to debate or not, but about what kind of debate we want. If a debate is degenerated into a shouting match, or just an emotional outburst, then definitely we’d be better off without it.

    @Steve
    Good to see you here and thank you for the list of suggested topics. Going forward, we will definitely cover more diversified topics. Actually buxi already did some of that, such as Loongson Lives: Release of Linux PC with Chinese processor and The fanciest Chinese village banquet in history!

    @FOARP
    Thank you for being such a loyal poster. I strongly endorse your call for everyone to refrain from making unfounded accusations and claims.

    @skylight & Tenzin
    One thing we’ve consistently criticized here is that the Dalai Lama (and the TGIE) has largely failed to reach out to the Chinese people directly. What MLK could have achieved without the support from the White? Or how he would have been viewed if he had sought financial and political support from Moscow?

    So to do our small part, we have been consistently inviting Tibetan voices to join our discussion. We have featured multiple posts of yours on this blog. And I will continue to give you the megaphone if you want sincere dialogue.

    @游子
    Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I think we agree on the most fundamental point-we both want a better China. I am here on a working visa. My mother, my brother, most of my relatives and friends are in China. I have said in my post that I want Chinese enjoy the same freedom and rights as Americans do.

    Since the May fourth movement, Chinese have been looking for guidance from “Mr. Democracy” and “Mr. Science,” both are from the West. This learning process reveals the great potential a democratic society entails, but also its shortcomings and pitfalls, as some of our writers and readers have pointed out here. In my view, those discussions are helpful, even necessary, to better prepare China for a smooth transition into a democratic country.

    As to your question about the history, my attitude is “the past” should not be forgotten, but “now” and “the future” are more important. In the same vein, I am against attempts to whitewash Japanese atrocities in the World War II, but I support China and Japan to move bilateral relationship forward.

    Finally, I respect your choice and wish you every success in your new endeavor as a lawyer.

    One more thought, if you will, I’d like to invite you to write for our Chinese section and I will ask volunteers to translate your posts.

    @Kui,
    By all means, yes, please. We had a kind of special series for sixfour this year and we are going to do a better one next year. There are also other 89 veterans on this board, such as BMY and EugeneZ and I hope all of you can participate.

    @ AndyR.
    Yes, we are moving forward. As you said, a singular Chinese perspective is non-existent. That’s part of the reason why BXBQ is here. He is presenting his perspective, which often I disagree with. Yet by submitting his opinions to the intense scrutiny on this blog, he subjects himself to be proven wrong and to (slowly) modify his position in the process. This interactive process is also a learning experience for me, and possibly, many other readers.

    I totally agree with you that the Sanlu incident merits doing a “self-critical session”, not talking about a “self-correcting mechanism.” However, as I mentioned in that thread, we do our best to ensure a two way communication, and as S.K. Cheung put it, “this blog lets you criticize to your heart’s content”. Finally, I want to repeat that I hope more Chinese authors can start to contribute for this blog so we will be able to present a myriad of Chinese perspectives here. If nothing else, just share with us your life experience and perspectives, like I did here.

    @Richard and Joyce Hor-Chung Lau
    Thank you for sharing your insights and I hope you will come back often.

    And I wish everyone a great weekend!

  70. TommyBahamas Says:

    @GNZ,

    OMG, never thought I’d read something so, so, so, oh nevermind:

    so either they are stupid or they are ‘idealists’ – I suggest more the latter than the former. ”

    I am with Allen on this one….(No, they are neither stupid nor idealists.)

  71. GNZ Says:

    Tommy,
    Do you think that the US is in a good position now? has it gained power over China in the last decade or so? You might say it has helped a certain elite – but has it? and if so is it reasonable to talk about what US thinks as being synonymous with what that elite thinks?

    Allen,
    there is a middle ground between believing what the government announces in public statements and inferring evil at every turn. In fact if you get an answer that seems to imply some sort of evil it probably just means that you have stopped trying to understand.

  72. Charles Liu Says:

    Tommy, ditto, stupidity or idealism doesn’t really explain why Bush signed Executive Order 13303, and Chevron and BP tankers headed for Iraq, right after “Shock & Awe”…

  73. GNZ Says:

    As to the specifics –
    “You really believe America is fighting for freedom, democracy, and human rights for the good of the un-enlightened mass of the rest of the world.”

    I don’t think the US’s view of freedom (or democracy or human rights) are enlightened – for example the US seems to believe in freedom from the government as opposed to freedom to do things which seems to be the same sort of point Lerclair makes when they talk about safe streets and a roof over one’s head.

    What I do think is that the majority of Americans think their views of democracy and freedom and human rights are good things and those sorts of belief are an important driver behind how the US behaves.

    Charles Liu,
    that sort of example begs the question as to whether we are discussing bush, bush’s advisers, ‘the elite’, ‘the government’ or ‘the USA’ and which of the parties are being stupid or naive or selfish. Although I note that being nice to Iraq and selling them weapons would probably have got chevron and BP far more oil than invasion as would just writing a big cheque to some corrupt elite.

    I don’t expect much support here – I think that it is a fatal flaw of the western system that just two adversarial positions get presented on issues – and i think that others have been sucked into this world view.

  74. Oli Says:

    @admin

    Despite my well entrenched personal commitment issue, I for one would like to see this blog continue in the current format. I and I believe many others here enjoy the polite, albeit sometimes heated and infuriating, but more often than not, well argued free-for-all that is unencumbered by overbearing PC-ness, which is in reality nothing more than cringe-inducing, false self-restraint/modesty self-censorship.

    Apart from Chinese and “Westerners”, there is another demographic which this blog ought to appeal to; namely those 2nd, 3rd or even 4th generation Overseas Chinese, wherever they may be who do not read Chinese. This blog can be useful for them to discover what other Chinese, whether mainlanders or other Overseas Chinese, irrespective of backgrounds or origins, think about as they discover or revisit their cultural/ethnic identity.

    As for what Berlin said about being careful, there is nothing to fear but fear itself (awful cliche, but I like it, right up there with apple pies and apfelstrudel). For too long different generations of Overseas Chinese of different waves of emigration have by necessity of circumstance been too focused on commerce and personal advancement. Often, too much to the detriment of personal local political participation out of fear of drawing attention to onself in a foreign nation, thereby inadvertently contributing to popular misconceptions about the Chinese “people” and its “society”, whether in China or Overseas. This blog serves a valuable function in not only dispelling such misconceptions by allowing participation and exchanging experiences, but can also encourage and motivate mainlanders and Overseas Chinese more to participate politically wherever they are or will be.

    As for Western media distortion, two leitmotifs come to mind, “spinning” and “embedding”. Journalists are humans (more or less), with real human motivations and desires that are apparent and well known. In recognising and knowing their desires and motivations they, like any others, can be manipulated for specific narrow purposes, often without them even knowing it until after the fact.

    Part of the problem and this is not limited to journalism, is that in today’s modernity, we are all susceptible to becoming Fachidioten who all too often either lack the imagination, the necessary experience or are simply too lazy to see or to pursue the context. Consequently, this blog is valuable and should continue because many participants here, whether Chinese or not, have one foot in more than one culture and therefore have the experience or is better placed to contrast and compare and to gain a better understanding of the issues at hand. Provided, of course that we care enough to bother to think and not just rant or seek to convince others without ourselves bothering to ruminate on what others have said or accept the slightest possibility that others may be right and we ourselves are wrong. Thus end my penny for the day.

    PS: yes admin, I know I still owe you a few promised pieces and I have not forgotten them. They shall be posted shortly, butterly fingers crossed.

  75. TommyBahamas Says:

    “not just rant or seek to convince others without ourselves bothering to ruminate on what others have said or accept the slightest possibility that others may be right and we ourselves are wrong. ”

    Oli, very well said.

    I have from the beginning had this in mind and attitude. Therefore I have found myself over the course of the last 3-4 months becoming softer, perhaps more liberal and compromising. Maybe the word is tolerant or accommodating, whatever. I don’t know if this means I’ve become chicken-shit or re-brainwashed or my learning curve has hit the plateau. One thing ‘s for sure, I sure as hell don’t want to remain in this limbo state! So, yes, I need to learn more, and by visiting this interactive blog, there is a good chance I might someday become enlighten. But when, I guess would depend on how many demons I’ve got to slay in me – with all your help, no doubt.

  76. Hongkonger Says:

    It is true that most of my American friends have very little good to say about the US gov’t. Actually, they are equally critical of the Chinese gov’t. Perhaps that is why we all remain friends. Actually, no. We all remain friends because we show respect by avoiding talking too much about politics in our gatherings. It is funny though. Just because I am Chinese, and if I say anything positive about China, like hey, isn’t life easier and safer in China, I am immediately labelled as a you-know-what by some. And then, if I criticize the West, then I am labelled by as a you-know-what by others. Goddamn simpletons! Or maybe I am the simpleton, as they say ignorance is bliss.
    I love food, period. I enjoy being in a multi cultural environment. This week, I stayed in Chungking Mansion in Hong Kong for two nights. Chungking Mansion is where low budget travellers, international backpackers, asylum seekers, con artists, fugitives, hookers as well as bona fide business people stay temporarily or have lived for generations.Then there are Hong Kong folks like me, & lots of HK expats, who love Indian food also frequent. If you ever want to meet a middle easterner or chat with an African in HK, Chungking Mansion is the place to hang out. It is one of a kind truly multicultural melting pot venue, perhaps unique in the world.
    Back to food. The curry restaurants and food stalls there are fabulous – all within this one high rise sandwiched between high price tourist shops of Tsim Tsa Tsui, and yuppie hangouts like TGIF, the Irish pub, Pizza Hut, etc. Anyway, fact is, I had a wonderful Chinese National holiday hanging out with folks from India, Pakistan, the Pacific Islands, savoring the finest safron rice, garlic nans, a yummy assortment of curry dishes and copious amount of Copenhagen’s finest bottled lager.
    What I am trying to say is, if not for this blog, I wouldn’t know where I could “talk” politics without risking losing my friends.

  77. Jerry Says:

    @admin
    @Joyce Hor-Chung Lau, #64
    @TommyBahamas, #75

    Admin, FM is a wonderful blog. Just look where we have gone since your OP; in fact, this happens after every OP, much to the consternation of some contributors (chuckle, chuckle, rofl). Sure, there are occasional incivilities, people for whom I don’t care, mindless arguing, and opinions stated as facts and, occasionally, as if their words were the words of God (ex cathedra). I have seen much worse in most blogs/forums. BTW, if you want to see raucous and insulting, tune into a session of the Israeli Knesset; FM is downright peaceful in comparison. For the most part, the posts are worthwhile and educational. I have learned a lot here: about myself, the contributors, China, Malaysia, Taiwan and America. Thanks. Keep up the good work.

    —————-

    Joyce, I enjoyed your interesting remarks.

    “I’m HK Chinese and work for that big, bad wolf called the Western media (the IHT).” So you are in cahoots with IHT and NYT, which along with the WP are the two biggest, baddest wolves of Western media. ::chuckle, chuckle:: I like Frank Rich, Maureen Dowd, Robert Reich op-eds, Joe Stiglitz op-eds, Chris Hedges (formerly with NYT) and Paul Krugman. You can keep Tommy Friedman, Billy Kristol and David Brooks, for all I care.

    I occasionally read the IHT, in print and on-line. It is far superior to anything available here in print in Taipei (except for maybe the WSJ Asia). BTW, I am a Russian Jewish American living here in Taipei. I retired from Microsoft several years ago. Now, you may work for the big, bad wolf. I used to work for Microsoft who was described by Ralph Nader as the “The Great Satan”. LOL (And I really like Ralph, a lot.)

    Just some curious questions. What is your take on Noam Chomsky? He and NYT have squared off several times. In fact, I get the impression that the NYT considers him somewhere between an arch-villain and an arch-enemy. Chomsky challenges mainstream media with intellectual analysis unlike any I have ever seen before. To me, he is pretty amazing. And he is certainly no friend to AIPAC and Israel Firsters.

    You wrote, “Actually, the idea that media is used as a tool to give favor to some, and shame to others — as controlled by some greater body playing a power struggle — is very Chinese.” Chomsky, in his book with Ed Herman, “Manufacturing Consent”, goes into great detail about Walter Lippmann and his 1921 book, “Public Opinion”. In the book Lippmann called for a ruling elite class which would use the media to inform the public of information which they needed to form an opinion. He considered the average citizen somewhere between a self-centered lout and a moron. Any thoughts or comments?

    Thanks, Joyce.

    —————-

    Tommy, right on. Keep on truckin’ and rockin’, guy.

  78. EugeneZ Says:

    The 3/14 incident and the biased reporting by the vast majority of the mainstream media in the west gave birth to this blog, according to Admin. It filled a vacuum, and it attracted many readers and participants. I am one of them. However, the success of Olympics put a closure on the 3/14 events. The world moved on.

    As a result of this new reality, this blog also enters a new phase. I read with great interest how this blog will evolve in the post-Olympics era. Forget about my hurried suggestion of “closing it down” – I had fast typing fingers when I was “rubbed the wrong way” by some of the posts I read on the Sanlu scandal.

    It would be worhtwhile to think more deeply, beyond the vision of “building the bridge between Chinese and Western perspectives”, about what this blog strives to do. I was thinking about a simple question ” why do I spend time reading blogs?” One example is The Huffington Post. I go there because of a few reasons: (1.) shared value / idealism – almost all of the contributors/authors are democrats; (2.) News on major development on topics I care about – the US presidential election for example; (3.) Additional news/analysis/blog posts I would not get from other main stream media; (4.) Fun – If i missed the Saturday Night Live Tina Fey skid of mocking Palin, I could always catch up there.

    At the end of day, it would be difficult to be all things to all people, even for a blog dedicated to the special topic of China.

  79. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To HKer:
    “What I am trying to say is, if not for this blog, I wouldn’t know where I could “talk” politics without risking losing my friends.” – couldn’t agree more, in the sense that this blog provides an outlet for the type of discussion that I, and I suspect many others, could not otherwise tap into. Most of my friends would not have the slightest interest in the topics at hand here, and most of them are intelligent educated tolerant individuals. And my wife now calls me “blog boy”, though my response is I can do this while she watches Dancing with Stars etc. Now, perhaps I’ll be sitting by the tube more when hockey season is in full swing, or when 24 comes back on. But this blog is an engaging way to exercise my brain in leisure time.

    Many have decried the dichotomous nature of some of the perspectives. It’s often Chinese vs West; you’re with us or you’re against us. That belies the human tendency to gravitate toward groups, and to identify with the group mentality. It is a convenient organizational metric. But I wonder if it sometimes demeans our inherent individual complexities. For i would like to think that there’s more to me than being pro-west or anti-CCP. I’m nearly certain the same can be said for everyone else who traverses this blog. And even as I say I’m pro-West and anti-CCP, that in itself is an over-simplification. For clearly there are aspects of western culture of which I do not approve. And there are actions of western governments with which I disagree. Just as today’s CCP is better than that of 10 years ago, and hopefully the version 10 years from now will be better still.
    Likewise, I suspect many who are “pro-China” aren’t satisfied with every facet of China today. And presumably the anti-west diaspora aren’t thoroughly and completely committed to that POV, otherwise they would no longer be on this side of the pond, but back “home” where they would presumably be infinitely happier.
    So really, over-arching generalizations do not serve to inform, or explain. Every issue can be viewed from many unique perspectives, but hopefully we will ultimately seek not just a commonality between Chinese and western, but an even more fundamental shared reasoning.

  80. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Eugene Z:
    the Huff was definitely the best source for Tina Fey week 1 and week 2. I found youtube useless by comparison. Tina Fey should get another Emmy next year for Best Guest role in a variety or musical show (is that even a category?).
    I think another strength of this blog is that it attracts and hangs onto people of many diverse perspectives. In my limited experience on other blogs, you’re either preaching to the choir, or shouting. Both of which seem rather unbecoming, to me.

  81. Hongkonger Says:

    “hopefully we will ultimately seek not just a commonality between Chinese and western, but an even more fundamental shared reasoning.”

    SKC,

    Have you been to the Chungking Mansion? If you haven’t, I’ll be happy to be your guide.

    Any chance you might be, as we tend to say “return,” to Hong Kong? For example, say, Vancouver which is my brother’s adopted home city, not mine. However, my friends would without fail or without thinking, for that matter, tend to ask when will I “return” to Vancouver. My reply would normally be, being a cheeky fellow, go like this, “I shall be “returning” to HK in 3 weeks.” Although, these days, I am most likely asked when I will return to China when in HK, and return to HK when in China.

    Folks in Hong Kong are always criticizing each other’s quirks, our irrelevant or wrong use of words and wierd, “confused” east/west mixture of perceptions and mentality.

    Indeed, I think it is pointless labeling people as this or that, as anti this or pro that, therefore is this-or-that, because this world through the magic of the worldwideweb and ever easier, faster, cheaper air travel is shrinking, and its inhabitants moaning to shade off the baggages of restrictive traditions, begging to discard much of the old world values of racism, segregation, political polarization; denounce the old schemes of dividing and conquering etc. Ok, I am falling asleep on my butt and dreaming with my fingers on the keyboard. One world yes, yes, yes, if it means no more visa headsches, immigration abuses, etc. As for one dream, only if it means to attain long lasting world peace. Zzzz….Dreeeaaam, dream, dream, dream when I fell blue….ZZzzz…

  82. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To HKer,
    actually, I left HK decades ago, and haven’t been back since. So I don’t know of the mansion which you speak. I used to live in Kowloon, but I can’t even remember what part. But if I ever go, I’ll be needing a guide, and probably a GPS. So thanks for the offer.
    Hey, isn’t it 3PM in HK? What are you doing sleeping?
    BTW, your family ties to our Great White North explains a lot. I was curious how your English was so good; not that HKers can’t learn the Queen’s finest from a book, but the conversational “this-or-that”s you don’t learn off a page. Not to mention the francais you sprinkle in. Very Canadian, eh? A quelle ans est-ce que vous retournez a la Chine?

  83. S.K. Cheung Says:

    BTW, I was asking out of curiosity, as I know a lot of people who went back to HK after university, due to the perception (or reality) of a better work environment in the financial sector.

  84. Jerry Says:

    @S. K. Cheung, #79, 80, 82
    @EugeneZ, #78
    @Hongkonger, #76

    SK and EugeneZ, thanks for the mention of HuffingtonPost. I have listened to Arianna’s analyses a lot. I occasionally have gone out there for specific articles which were mentioned. I just put it on my feeds. Oversight on my part.

    Sorry, I must be suffering from “Ain’t my generation” disorder, but I don’t know who Tina Fey is. I will check out her parody of Palin, anyway. I did just see that there is talk of a VP Debate parody. Queen Latifah is going to play Gwen Ifill. Now that sounds like a hoot to me.

    I love parody. SNL has always had great parody. My generation of SNL-watching goes back to Eddie Murphy, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, John Lovitz, Garret Morris. I think you get the picture. My favorite masters of parody are the “Capitol Steps”. Off the top of my head, I remember the skit with “Hugh Jim Bissel”. And their spoonerisms routine.

    —————-

    SK, dichotomous opinions, they are a dime a dozen! Binomial decision making. Polling! Fie on them. I wonder how some of the dichotomous Chinese posters here would feel if they knew that they had put themselves into the same league with the Master of Dichotomy, “You’re either for us or agin us”, “Axis of Evil”, President Shrub (GWB). I guess you could call it, “The League of Distinguished Simpletons”. I know you are not simpletons, guys, at least I hope not. Life is complex and paradoxical.

    I try to avoid generalizations, as a rule. I run from over-arching generalizations. And I plain don’t believe the generalizations and maxims which are issued “ex cathedra”.

    —————-

    HKer, thanks for your mention of Chungking Mansion. I may check it when I go to HK with my daughter in January.

    —————-

    No, SK, it is ~1:30 in HK and TW now. I will add, “Comment ce va, monsieur?”

  85. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Jerry:
    bien, et vous?
    Tina Fey used to be an SNL regular. She now has her own show (30 Rock) which is an Emmy winning TV show about the making of a TV show. SHe used to do Weekend Updates on SNL, similar to Dennis Miller (my generation) and CHevy CHase (yours). Ahhh, Eddie Murphy…used to love him as Mr. Rogers.
    Fey and Amy Poehler (another SNLer) opened SNL 2 weeks ago, Fey as Sarah Palin, and Poehler as Hillary Clinton. Last week, Poehler was Katie Couric interviewing Fey’s Palin. Both are on the Huff. Don’t watch while eating or drinking, cuz it’d be a choking hazard with the laughing.
    Hey, age isn’t a number, but a state of mind. Yours seems to be working just fine. :-) Though I hope you weren’t responsible for Vista. :-)

  86. Hongkonger Says:

    “Though I hope you weren’t responsible for Vista.”

    Ha ha… Yeah, Jerry, wassup with that?

    SKC,

    What am I sleeping at 1PM? Um, sssshh……..
    Actually, siesta is a part of Mainland China’s custom. (Not in HK, though)

  87. Hongkonger Says:

    Don’t laugh, SKC, my French really sux….Moi, eh,
    la sièste est la coutume, I’avais visite la Chine depuis 1998..I think…am I makin’ any sense???

  88. Jerry Says:

    @S. K. Cheung, #79, 80, 82

    Je suis bien, SK. I have a friend, Roger, who is from Bordeaux and manages the Carrefour store here in Tianmu. Il ne dit jamais, “Bien.” Il dit toujours, “Ce va.” Au moins, quelqu’un qui parle Francais. Je suis heureux.

    I just watched the Tina Fey-Amy Poehler Palin-Clinton parody. LMAO. ROFL. That is a great parody. I am glad that you and EugeneZ mentioned it. SNL rocks. Still. I will have to watch the Couric-Palin skit.

    Eddie Murphy as Mr. Rogers and Gilda Radner as Roseanne Roseannadanna. Ahh, such memories. Chevy Chase and Jane Curtin doing the news. Ahhhh!

    Thank you for your kindness towards my mathematically advanced age. Yeah, it is a state of mind. But who is that old guy looking back at me in the mirror? :D But I can still blow away other younger bicyclists on my road bike when I want to. :)

    I was there when Vista and Office 2007 were being developed. You talk about bloated, performance pigs. I left before they were both released. I bought a new laptop last year, after both had been released. I bought a Dell Latitude D820 2.2 ghz laptop with 4 gb ram and 2 large hard drives. I refused to install Vista or Office 2007. IMHO, neither should have been shipped. I still use Office 2003 and Win XP. I am sure willing to tell you more, but I won’t do that online in this blog. I would probably violate my NDA agreement if I did so. :D

    BTW, I just saw this on an email from YKBOO. Caveat/disclosure to all dichotomizers and hyperbolizers – I have not investigated and verified this and thus use the term allegedly, “In House debate on the banker “rescue” bill, Rep. Brad Sherman told his fellow Congress critters the government will declare martial law and the stock market will drop 3,000 points if the bill is not passed. “The panic-mongers were to the point of telling people the market would drop 3,000 points and there would be martial law,” said Sherman.” SOURCE: http://www.prisonplanet.com/martial-law-will-be-declared-if-banker-bill-not-passed-in-house.html The way things have been going on, unfortunately, I can’t dismiss this out of hand. So sad.

  89. rory Says:

    @ admin:

    As many others have said, this blog has been an invaluable forum for debate that I have returned to almost daily since I first stumbled over it a couple of months ago. I have disagreed with a lot of the posts, but I have also been forced to challenge my own positions on a lot of issues – at times my opinion has changed, other times it has ultimately been strengthened, but in any case I have gained a lot from the process. Keep up the good work!

    @ 游子:

    Again, this has been said before, but I think it is worth saying again: your posts are some of the most insightful that I have read on this blog, I just think it’s a shame that many readers who can’t read Chinese will not benefit from them. I am currently working on a translation of your comment (#39) which I will try and post soon.

  90. Jerry Says:

    re: #88

    Here are YouTube links for Sherman’s and other congressmen’s speech on the floor of the House regarding the panic and pressure exerted to pass the bailout. This is from CSPAN. He did say these words. Still no corroboration on his allegations.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaG9d_4zij8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtsGsYZfFGI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGJmPz7McoE
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7B4laX1E70&feature=related

    Interview with Brad Sherman on MSNBC after Bailout bill passed
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MabMI9XLobg

    There are remarks in this interview that some of the money may be heading to banks in Beijing. Accusing Henry Paulson and GWB of causing panic to get bill passed.

    Again, I have not verified or corroborated these statements.

  91. Hongkonger Says:

    “age isn’t a number, but a state of mind. ”

    You can say that again. Check out the Grand Dame of Rock N Roll, Tina Turner at 68 is donning her glittering mini skirts and stiletto heels to Rock the Western World>USA, Canada, & 2009 in Europe~!
    Aw~! Go, Tina, go. RESPECT~!
    Tina Turna Iternary:
    October 2008
    1 – Kansas City, MO – Sprint Center
    3 – Chicago, IL – United Center
    6 – Rosemont, IL – Allstate Arena
    8 – Kansas City, MO – Sprint Center
    9 – Minneapolis, MN – Target Center
    10 – Chicago, IL – United Center
    13 – Los Angeles, CA – Staples Center
    14 – Anaheim, CA – Honda Center
    19 – San Jose, CA – HP Pavilion
    22 – Sacramento, CA – ARCO Arena
    24 – Phoenix, AZ – Jobing.com Arena
    30 – Miami, FL – American Airlines Arena

    November 2008
    2 – Fort Lauderdale, FL – BankAtlantic Center
    5 – Orlando, FL – Amway Arena
    9 – Atlanta, GA – Philips Arena
    13 – Toronto, Ontario – Air Canada Centre
    16, 17 – Boston, MA – TD Banknorth Garden
    23 – Washington, DC – Verizon Center
    26 – Newark, NJ – Prudential Center

    December 2008
    3 – Uniondale, NY – Nassau Coliseum
    6 – Hartford, CT – XL Center
    8 – Montreal, Quebec – Bell Centre
    12 – Toronto, Ontario – Air Canada Centre

  92. rory Says:

    The following is an attempted translation of Youzi’s earlier post (#39). It is far from perfect, so please feel free to point out any errors.

    @Admin:

    Reading your post, I’m guessing that you were born in the 70s or maybe the late 60s. In that case, we’re about the same age. My grandparents and parents also suffered during the Cultural Revolution. My family was sent to the countryside, and I and my siblings grew up there. Through a lot of hard work, I passed the university entrance exams. After studying in Beijing, I went to work for a government agency in a large coastal city.

    You say: “My family’s story is hardly unique nor extraordinary, I bet you can find thousand of Chinese of older generations, who, despite endured all those political upheavals and economic hardships, have made their own contributions to China and are proud of that.” I agree with the first part of your comment; my own family is another example. But the second half of your comment is vague, and could easily lead to different interpretations. ‘China’ is a broad term: it can refer to a culture, a nation, a political institution, and can also be understood from an anthropological perspective. What’s more, whichever aspect you choose to look at, more and more distinct categories emerge. Take culture for example. ‘Chinese culture’ is not just Han culture, it also encompasses the highly distinct cultures of many ethnic minorities. Even within Han culture, there are large differences between North and South. As a result, to look at China as a single entity in this context is not a very scientific approach. We can all say that we feel proud of ‘China’, but our understanding of this phrase may be completely different. For example, although my father continues to identify himself as Chinese, he will never excuse the government of Mao Zedong for branding him as a ‘rightist’ and punishing him. Perhaps your grandparents and parents believe that old grievances should be put to rest (although I’d be interested to know if you take the same view regarding Japan’s past actions) but for many people, the rights and wrongs of this situation have to be addressed; they can’t just be swept away. If not, who knows if the same kind of political oppression may happen in China again? You live in the US, so you don’t have to worry about this. But for those of us who live in China, we have to hold on to the memory of that period of history, to ensure that the tragedy of that time is not repeated.

    At this point, some overseas Chinese may say, “China is getting more and more prosperous every day; the people are wealthier and society is progressing. The past has already gone, why keep talking about it? We need to let the whole world know how strong we are, and make them respect us.” This shows the difference between the attitudes and opinions of overseas Chinese and ordinary mainland Chinese. Some overseas Chinese care about gaining respect from foreigners, while ordinary Chinese people care about ensuring their individual rights and benefits in their own country. Also, does the ability to host a glittering Olympic Games and launch a rocket into space signify that the people are wealthy, or that society is progressing? To be frank, the ordinary people around me don’t have that experience. Speaking as someone who enjoys thinking, I believe that under the slogan of ‘economic development’, the government has intentionally tried to gloss over the wounds of the past. However, the factors that led to these horrors have yet to be completely eradicated. The root of this problem is unrestrained power. There is no chance that we can solve this problem by relying solely on traditional Chinese culture, because autocracy and rank are essential to the traditional Chinese system of governance. In the several decades that I’ve been working for a government agency, I’ve experienced this first-hand. I can’t see how this problem can be solved without democracy, rule of law and human rights.

    Regarding ‘harmony’, I believe that a truly harmonious society can only come about when the rights of the people are protected. Harmony under a dictatorship is just a façade to fool people. I suggest that next time you go to Beijing, don’t just visit the upper- and middle-class areas; take the time to visit the slums or the reception desk of a government agency and see what you find. I handle legal work for the government, so you can’t talk to me about how we can “rely on the law to protect our rights.” I agree with Skylight: it’s strange that you started this blog due to the incorrect reports in some Western media sources about the Lhasa riots. If this is true, you have even more reason to start a blog that concentrates on the Chinese media, and see which is worse – a state-controlled press or a free press. If you still want to use ‘Chinese culture’ to excuse the Chinese media, I can only respond with this passage from the Bible: “Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?”

    One last comment: ‘China’ and ‘Chinese culture’ are not without their faults. In particular, China has serious defects in its political culture and structure; these defects have led to a lot of suffering for the Chinese people over the years, suffering which remains fresh in the memory to this day. If you overseas Chinese, in your dealings with foreigners, choose to ignore these defects, it doesn’t only affect you – this is disrespectful to the many Chinese people who have suffered political oppression. Not only will you fail to win the respect of foreigners, you will also earn the contempt of ordinary Chinese people.

    In the not-too-distant future, I plan to leave my current job and work in criminal defense. If I can offer help to the weak members of society who need it, this will make me happy. It will certainly be more interesting than wasting taxpayers’ money working for the government.

  93. Jerry Says:

    @Hongkonger, #86, 91

    “Though I hope you weren’t responsible for Vista.”

    Ha ha… Yeah, Jerry, wassup with that?

    Retired from msft 2 years ago.

    —————-

    Tina Turner is 68? Wow, I am getting old. What I remember is her version (with that SOB Ike) of “Proud Mary”. And her miniskirts. And her role with Mel Gibson in “Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome”

    You mention “RESPECT~!” Are you referring to the song written by Otis Redding and made famous by the Queen of Soul, Lady Aretha Franklin? :D Or just that we should show some respect for Tina and her many years as a star. :)

    R-E-S-P-E-C-T
    Find out what it means to me

    Let’s give it up for Tina Turner, 68, Aretha Franklin, 66, Stevie Wonder, 58 (a year older than I; he started performing as Little Stevie Wonder at 11 years old) and for one of my all-time favorites, Tony Bennett, 82.

  94. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Jerry:
    my French blows. If your friend says “ca va” is the proper response to “ca va?”, I’m sure he’s right. Very impressed that an American can speak da French, but I suppose Redmond is pretty close to Canada.

    Wouldn’t want you to jeopardize your NDA. Hope they accessorized it with a golden parachute, or at least tricked it out with a gold-plated pension for you. Does it stipulate that you can never, ever, run anything with OSX? :-)

  95. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Rory:
    thanks for that. Ran out of steam trying to read the simplified.

  96. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Jerry:
    Aretha who? Just kidding. But I’m more Tragically Hip/ColdPlay/Linkin Park vintage, plus some U2 and BareNaked Ladies.

  97. admin Says:

    @Oli,
    Welcome back! I hope you enjoyed a wonderful vacation (forced or not). :)

    @rory
    Thank you very much for the translation! Not meant to push the envelope, but could you please consider translating more Chinese content into English for this blog?

  98. Jerry Says:

    @S. K. Cheung, #94

    Well, SK, my French spelling blows, too. You are right, “ça va” not “ce va”. Yes, you can say, in response to “Comment ça va?”, “Ça va” or “Ça va bien” or “Ça va très bien”. Kind of like the diff between hai hao, hao and hen hao or so-so, fine and very fine/well. Bien works. Well, there are very few Canucks in Seattle as far as I know. Nor have I seen a moose in the hoose (mouse in the house). I was taught in high school and college by Parisians, who sometimes disdain the dialects in Montreal and Quebec. Imagine that, French and Francophiles can be condescending? :D

    BTW, my daughter’s orthopedic residency is in Royal Oak, just outside Detroit. No American knows how to correctly pronounce Detroit (Duh-trwaaahh). They all say DEE-troit or duh-TROIT. LOL. Like, find an American who says Montreal correctly. When I do, they ask, “Huh?” Or how many Americans know that Cajuns are from Acadia? OK, I am stopping. Enough.

    “Hope they accessorized it with a golden parachute, or at least tricked it out with a gold-plated pension for you.” You could have a career as a stand-up comedian. ::chuckle, chuckle, sob:: (I stole the CCS line from the late Barney Keep, morning host on KEX Radio in Portland, OR, my hometown)

    “Does it stipulate that you can never, ever, run anything with OSX?” It stipulates that I can never use software from a company that cares about its customers. ::Ooooff:: Was that a low blow?? LOL

    So how is my buddy, Don Cherry, doing? Whenever I think of Don Cherry, I hear, “O Canada” playing in my head. And those outrageous comments. And I can picture him in his crazy wardrobes.

    As a bicyclist, I have to finish with, “Vive le Tour (TDF)!!!!”

  99. RMBWhat Says:

    @ Jerry 88,

    Wow, I didn’t know you read prisonplanet, hehe. Anyways, I despise windows as much as the next linux nerd (actually, I think visual studios kicks ass tho) but I really respect the people who work at M$ (hehe). A lot of really brilliant people work there (yeah some seem to think MS doesn’t innovate. But their research stuff is pretty awesome, imho). I’ve know some really brilliant guys who are MS tech. evangelists who can run circles around most linux nerds.

  100. Jerry Says:

    @S. K. Cheung, #96

    SK, the only Linkin Park I know is Lincoln Park in Chicago, just north of Streeterville. It is right on Lake Michigan. Yes, I have heard of Linkin Park, BNL, ColdPlay (my daughter likes) and Bono’s group U2. The only Irish group I follow is the Celtics who play basketball in Boston. Certainly not those guys in South Bend. :D

    My daughter, 26, really loves Ray Charles (I have been listening to Ray since I was 8 years old), Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra.

  101. Jerry Says:

    @RMBWhat, #99

    Hate to disappoint you, RMBWhat, I had never heard of that site until the YKBOO listserv sent the link to the article I mentioned above. :) VisStudio is a decent product. Good for prototyping, automation, web coding and quick projects. Too much glue and abstraction for world class programming. I just don’t do coding anymore. I got burned out.

    I like it, “M$”. We don’t innovate; we buy innovation. Management and marketing get in the way of innovation. Too political and way too much about the money. If we worried as much about the customers and got to know the customers, we would have a better product. Arrogance and greed are stoppers in the world of innovation that matters. The Tech Evangelists are all very smart guys. I just think that most have “drunk the Kool-Aid”. The research guys are awesome. They have wonderful ideas and spend a lot of time listening to people. They are deep thinkers and excellent prototypers. Hint, hint, msft.

  102. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    Admin, Joel, Joyce and et al.,

    What is the goal of the communication (moving the mountain) between the Chinese and Westerners? What is the anticipated end state that will allow you to declare “mission accomplished”? Is it reaching a consensus on the issues in dispute? Is it achieving a mutual affection so that we will hold hands, form a circle around the camp fire, and dance late into the night?

    These goals are misconceived and unrealistic. The notion that members of different groups would eliminate their prejudice against each other through extensive contact, intermingling and interaction, was formulated as a scientific theory by Gordon Allport (1954) in the context of American racism. If only we knew each other better, we would have understood that we are all the same, he thought. The superficially obvious and intuitive theory did not receive empirical support in the subsequent years. In fact contact tended to make the prejudice, contempt and discrimination against each other among members of different groups more radical and entrenched. The discussions among the commenters of Fools Mountain add unsystematic data to this line of evidence every day. Thomas Pettigrew modified the original contact theory by specifying some boundary conditions. He believes that contact can reduce prejudice, when and only when some conditions for the contact setting are satisfied. Included in these conditions are the absence of conflict of interest between the groups and the pursuit of a common goal between the members belonging to the different groups. These conditions can be created artificially in the lab, but are the extremely rare exceptions in the field. National groups (the Chinese versus the Americans) are formed particularly for the purpose of negotiating (peacefully or forcefully) conflict of interests.

    The impossibility of persuasion and modification of attitude is not limited to inter-group settings. A group of social scientists (I can dig out this citation upon requirement.) asked Americans who either supported or were against capital punishment to review a mixed list of evidence for the effectiveness of capital punishment in reducing crime. Half of the listed evidence was against, and the other half supports the claim that the death penalty deters violent crimes. If the human mind were rational, one would expect that both supporters and detractors of capital punishment should become moderate and less certain about their attitude; they should both move closer to each other, to the center. The result shows that they both become radicalized, more adamant and extreme in their attitude.

    A more productive goal for the communication between the Chinese and the West is the establishment of a clear and mutually respected boundary in their engagement. The need for boundary is a human universality, not a Chinese cultural curiosity. I have acquired a deep understanding of its significance as a new faculty at an American university, in my first semester. On day one you need to communicate unambiguously your expectations and requirements, erect the goal post for the end of the semester and mark all the mile stones leading to the goal. Make it clear that these goals are non-negotiable and not open to compromise. Do not seek affirmation from the students on the educational goals. Within this structure, you can be sensitive, supportive and affectionate. Mutual respect and productivity will flow. In its absence, the class will collapse into a teahouse. There will be at least one or two, maybe even 3 or 4 students who will play their entire bag of tricks on you to do business their way, passive resistance, open hostility, sullen non-cooperation, you name it. They will tell you what to do. “Why don’t you just eliminate that assignment?” Why don’t you make it open-book?” Why don’t you norm the grades?” Boundaries the most basic structure for supporting a functional relationship. Boundaries are indispensable even between children and their parents. The West needs to know the boundaries the Chinese establish in their dealing with the world. The Chinese cannot let the West set boundaries for Chinese conduct of its own affairs, such as democracy, individual freedom, economic policies, Tibet and etc.

    Despite the universality of the need for boundaries, there is in deed a cultural difference in people’s attitude toward boundaries. “The structure of human relations is permanent (or immutable,人伦有常 ).” The Chinese derive a sense of ontological security (an Anthony Giddens concept) from the permanence of interpersonal relations. The Chinese students would never have the good humor to suggest to their professors to make a test open-book. The same trait is obvious in the Chinese conduct of international affairs. The Chinese cannot tell the North Koreans, the Sudanese or the Burmese how to run their country. Non-interference is respect for the boundaries between independent entities.

    On the other hand, boundaries are fluid to Westerners and must be constantly negotiated and re-negotiated, by a display of determination, brashness, real and symbolic force. The Western media and activists have played their entire bag of tricks on China in the run up to the Olympics. It is time for some clarity on the issue of boundaries.

  103. Hongkonger Says:

    Yeah~! RESPECT to Tina Turner who can Rock the world with the best of them, Aretha Frankling, Mick Jagger, Robert Plant, Bob Dylan, Clapton, David Gilmour, Roger Water, Bono, Alana Myles, Sheryl Crow, etc..and indeed, R-E-S-P-E-C-T …Find out what it means to me ~ Make LOVE not War

  104. Otto Kerner Says:

    bianxiangbianqiao,

    Your example is a good explanation of the importance of setting boundaries in the relationship between a superior and inferiors. However, it’s not clear to me what this has to do with a situation of communication between equals, such as on this blog. Can you go into more detail on that?

  105. Jerry Says:

    @bianxiangbianqiao, #102

    BXBQ, you are entitled to your opinions.

    What is your point? I was going to wander and meander through your points here, responding as I went along. I have decided differently.

    You ask, “What is the goal of the communication (moving the mountain) between the Chinese and Westerners?” Then you start a Socratic monologue.

    Then, commenting on the goals you set out in your monologue, you tell us, “These goals are misconceived and unrealistic.” Who said that these are our goals here?

    You start a discourse on Allport and Pettigrew. Then you try to tie in comments on FM. Then you move to explaining why national groups are needed for negotiating conflicts of interests.

    Then you go into the impossibility of persuasion and attitude modification. Again, I do not understand why this is relevant to FM?

    Then you state we need to set mutually respected boundaries in our communication. At last, something I understand. You bring in your experience as a new teacher at an American university as an extended metaphor or allegory. You then extend that to setting boundaries on a national level and why China cannot let the West set boundaries.

    Then you talk about the existence of a cultural difference in people’s attitude toward boundaries and the manifestations of Chinese boundary setting/respecting. Or at least your interpretation of the manifestations. You extol the proper setting by and respecting of mutual boundaries by the Chinese.

    Some comments and questions before I move on. Is the Chinese government giving money to the Sudanese, Burmese, North Koreans, Ethiopians, Zimbabweans, Angolans, Nigerians, unconditionally? Are you telling them, “We will pay for this project or that. We will give you money. And we are giving this money unconditionally. We will not interfere in any manner whatsoever.”? Please define “non-interference”. Or perhaps China wants the natural resources of these poor countries and wants to use the people as a cheap source of labor?

    Then you complain about the fluidity in Western boundaries and Western tricks. Then you ask for clarity on the issue of boundaries.

    So I ask, “What is your point? And where are you going with this?” Do you really want clarity? Or do you want us to agree that it is impossible to bridge the gap in cultures, or even set mutually respected boundaries? Or that Westerners are just plain evil and there is no point in trying because they will never come close to attaining the level of sainthood possessed by the Chinese?

    Life is not an academic exercise. Life is not about subjecting everything to “scientific proof” or “scientific analysis”. Life has suffering, pain, joy, fun, exasperation, learning, decisions, frustration, feeling worthwhile, feeling worthless, contentment, loneliness, happiness, sadness, etc. Do you want a guarantee? Sorry, none available. My grandfather would tell my dad when he complained, “You are here, aren’t you? Big deal! A bi gezunt!!” (My dad told me the same thing)

    To be honest, your post sounds like a tirade to me. A confusing one at that. Maybe I am just not smart enough to comprehend your logic here? Sorry. You are probably much smarter than I. Perhaps you can enlighten me here?

    To me, life is making decisions, setting directions, learning, evaluating, sweating, and having fun. And we keep doing this process over and over again. One circle after another.

    I would seriously advise against constructing major, detailed plans, wherever you are going with this. I always love quoting Billy Collins, former American poet laureate, “Man plans. God laughs.” Ain’t that wonderful?

  106. FOARP Says:

    @Jerry – Thank you! I had tried to write something to set out what I thought about what BXBQ had just written, but could not because the way in which he went from mid-twentieth century theorists (who were not, anyway, the originators of the theories that BXBQ explores here) to students in the ‘white world’ who annoy him, to an imagined history of total non-intervention by China in the affairs of other countries, and then on to bashing on an imagined conspiracy by the western media. I simply could not see anything linking these except an attempt to find some mock-intellectual way of saying “Whiteys out” – pure nonsense and self-deluding dribble of the worst kind. What’s more, I simply cannot see how BXBQ can so openly question the very purpose of this blog and yet continue to masquerade as a supporter of it – either he is a mountain-mover or he is a wall-builder, but he cannot pretend to be both and still expect people to take him seriously.

  107. Allen Says:

    @Jerry and FOARP,

    I think BXBQ is developing his ideas, and open exploring his thoughts with us. I hope you two are not belittling him…!

    At some level, what BXBQ says resonates with me. This is my take.

    As a lawyer, I have been involved in many negotiations (I focused my studies on various theories on negotiations while in law school). One thing that is important for any negotiation is the setting of a proper framework for negotiating. The framework may involve simple protocols such as understanding when are good times to meet and how to cancel a meeting if one has to cancel or more substantive things such as developing a clear understanding regarding what issues are at play, and what issues are not.

    If the framework is not set correctly and explicitly, parties can feel disrepected or end up revisiting and renegotiating issues that should not have to be renegotiated – resulting in two steps forward, two steps back, three steps forward, three steps back… all of which can be a very frustrating experience.

    So what does that have to do with what we do here at foolsmountain – or to the broader exchange between West and China?

    I think all of us come here from different backgrounds (some of us more different than others) and thus our visions regarding government, human rights, freedom, democracy, nature of multiculturalism, etc. are also very different. By not understanding what many of these political concepts mean to each other, we would sometimes seem to make some progress/understanding on some issues, but because of fundamental differences in perspectives, we would pull the rug out of any mutual understanding on a later issue.

    We also often assume things that we assume others agree with – which of course is not correct. So often, we feel we are “playing music to cows.” Or, we take things emotionally and feel disparaged and begin to disengage from each other. Two steps forward, three steps back…

    Now things don’t have to be so pessimistic. It is possible that over time, we do reach more convergence. But I thank BXBQ for recognizing that it is also possible that over time, we simply firm up our ingrained prejudices against the other side – using our “lack of progress” as proof of our prejudices…

    These are just formative thoughts – and I have no solution. For purposes of foolsmountain, the only thing I can suggest is not to assume the motives of others (tough order, I know!). The truth is that all of our time is limited – so since we are taking the time to engage with each other on this site, let’s approach each other with the best of intentions. If we are going to assume the worst, we might as well disengage and go spend our time fishing – or spending time with family…

  108. Nobody Says:

    RMB what,

    Here’s something for you to chew on:

    http://www.theooze.com/articles/article.cfm?id=2117

    GARRISON: They knew you were a journalist and yet they still let you in?
    SHARLET: I had to go through this interview process in order to get in. There’s no point in lying. They can Google me and see what I’ve written. But they didn’t seem to care. They had this remarkable uncuriosity that comes from being at the center of power for over seventy years. They’ve been challenged so infrequently that they believe genuinely in their own goodness.

    GARRISON: What was it like living there day-to-day?
    SHARLET: I was having a wonderful time. Once you’re in you have full run of the grounds. It’s like a utopia.

    Here’s an article in Harper’s article

    http://harpers.org/archive/2008/06/hbc-90003020

  109. Steve Says:

    Seems this has turned into an open forum; lots to comment upon!

    Admin: Thanks for those two links. As it turned out, I was involved with the SMIC, GSMC and Motorola (now SMIC) fab construction projects when they were first built. The reason China didn’t use the SMIC foundry to build their microprocessor is that you need special lines to do so, and those foundries weren’t set up for that process. Motorola Tianjin used American engineers to train their Chinese counterparts, but SMIC and GSMC were all Taiwan lead engineers and facilities managers, mostly ex-TSMC. What surprised me what the amount of bitter feeling between the Taiwanese and Chinese engineers. I liked both groups and heard the reasons from each one. I’ll have to work that into a future post.

    The town dinner reminded me of when I first arrived in Taiwan. My wife is from Miaoli and her cousin and his wife took us to a New Year’s dinner south of town in a Hakka farming village whose richest family was a childhood classmate of his. The tradition was for that family to host the village at a banquet at their house, similar to the post. We sat inside the house but there were also many tables in the courtyard. The food was fabulous, definitely one of the five best meals of my life. Home cooked Hakka food is much better than anything I’ve had in a restaurant. Her cousin told me it is the tradition for the leading family to do this every year. Interestingly, none of the Taiwanese I worked with in Hsinchu ever had this experience, so I was truly lucky.

    Here’s a new article from the Economist about the melamine scandal: http://www.economist.com/daily/columns/techview/displayStory.cfm?story_id=12343910 I believe we have a biologist contributor. I’d sure like to have his opinion since this article seems to think it wasn’t pure melamine that was used. It’s the first time I’ve heard this take on the subject.

    Andy #45: One thing I’ve noticed, and it applies to all cultures, is that when someone leaves their country, they have a tendency to freeze that country’s development in their minds, especially politically. When I was living in Asia, I kept up with the news via the NY Times, Washington Post, my local San Diego Union Tribune, Google News or just picked a local paper near where the story originated. Thank God for the internet! (English language newspapers in Taiwan are pretty bad and in China, just propaganda pieces) But even though I kept up, when I came back home things weren’t as I expected. Cultures change and develop much more quickly than I thought. I’ve also noticed this when talking to Taiwanese living in the States. Their mentality about their former country is frozen in the 70s and 80s. My colleagues in Hsinchu used to tell me that they wished the Taiwanese Americans would pay attention to American politics and let Taiwanese run their own country. Why would they be so involved with local politics if they have chosen to immigrate to another country? Because of these experiences, I don’t believe you can totally know a country unless you are living in it at the present time.

    I don’t think anyone can truly say what the Chinese people are thinking, since there is no way to gauge that thought independently. We can’t take opinion polls, so everything is informed speculation. I wonder… does the CCP take opinion polls to keep informed as to the current mood? Has anyone ever been asked their opinion in China by a scientific random sample? If not, how does the leadership gauge the feelings of the populace, or does it just not matter to them?

    Joyce #64: Great post! You probably know my sister in law who did political radio and TV work in Taiwan and Singapore, and for many years has done radio in the Bay Area that is broadcasted in China. Seems yours is a small world where everyone knows everyone else. From what I’ve read, reporters do well when they are in there field of expertise, but anything technical tends to get botched up. But I agree that a reporter is always looking for a good story, and isn’t going to be ideological about where to find it. After all, isn’t the object to sell newspapers? That’s a much different objective than using media to sway public opinion.

    Oli #74: Agree about the spinning and embedding, but I think a lot of it is that instead of going after the story, finding out the facts and exposing the liar or manipulator, most of the media goes along for the ride and just reports whatever each side says. That’s really what Jon Stewart exposed on Crossfire. Most people are somewhere in the middle of issues, yet media is in love with taking two diametric opposites and having them pound each other on TV or in print. Let’s talk about gun control, one side wants water pistols to be illegal while the other believes everyone MUST own assault weapons, a bazooka and park a tank on their front lawn. It’s an exaggeration, but not by much.

    How can there be any rational discussion when only the extremes are being reported. Is China an evil place intent on taking over the world? Of course not. Is the West trying to hold China down and manipulate the country to make it weak? No way. Anyone who espouses these views has just not done their homework, or only reads books or articles that agree with one side of the issue. But if someone writes an inflammatory book or article, they’ll get a lot of press which… helps them sell their stuff! I’ve never had a problem communicating with Chinese and we’ve discussed politics, religion, philosophy… pretty much everything.

    EugeneZ #64: Agree, can’t be all things to all people. Probably best for the blog to define where it wants to go in terms of general discussion. However, it seems no matter what the topic, things tend to gyrate into other areas, which I really enjoy.

    Rory #92: Thanks so much for translating Youzi’s post! My knowledge of written Chinese is recognizing which exits to take while driving around Taiwan.

    BXBQ #102: You’re the academic and I’m the world wanderer. In my experience, if traveling by yourself in a land where you don’t speak the language, it’s hard to maintain ideas about prejudice. I’ve never encountered any prejudice in all my travels, absolutely none. Contact alone won’t do it but reliance will, and finding common ground. Some people are social misfits and wouldn’t be able to fit in anywhere. Some don’t have the balls to step out of their cloistered environment and take chances (most expats). But in my experience, I tend to find that travelers are more liberal, more open-minded, more at ease in unusual surroundings and more able to adjust to new situations. I may not have taken a ‘scientific study’, but I’ve hitchhiked approx. 26,000 miles around the USA and Canada in the 1970s, been all over most of Europe, the Americas (both of them) and Asia, and have met literally thousands of people on my “voyages”, as Jules Verne used to say. The vast majority have been friendly, kindhearted, open and generous. I have noticed that people who see others as “different” from themselves (you’re Chinese, I’m American, we have nothing in common) actually create the barrier between themselves and others, while telling everyone how prejudiced Chinese are to Americans or Americans are to Chinese, etc. My wife has lived in the States for close to 30 years and has encountered no prejudice. One of her sisters swears Americans are prejudiced towards Chinese. I get along great with this sister, but I can see how her general attitude would cause others to be more cautious around her. I can sometimes feel the chip on her shoulder. BXBQ, I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just saying that from my “micro” view, your “macro” theories just don’t fit in with my experiences. I’m also not sure how a “scientific” study can figure this one out accurately. It seems like there’d be too many variables involved.

    Allen #107: “the only thing I can suggest is not to assume the motives of others (tough order, I know!).” I totally agree. BXBQ makes me think about issues in new ways, as do others on this blog. I try to assume each of us has the best motives and go from there.

    Music wise, these are all western groups! What about Chinese bands?? Check out Cold Fairyland from Shanghai, progressive music using traditional Chinese instruments, the least derivative Chinese band I’ve heard and excellent musicians! If you like trip-hop, Crystal Rubic from Hefei is pretty good. I-GO are two guys out of Shanghai with a synth pop style, PixelToy from HK has some nice stuff, R3 out of Shanghai has both Chinese and foreign band members, more of an industrial techno sound. Sa Dingding is definitely non-derivative, singing in many dialects including one she invented. I’d be curious to hear what other Chinese think about her style. All those bands can be sampled on their MySpace sites. For some reason, Crystal Butterfly from Shanghai isn’t on any websites that I could find, but worth seeing. They play a lot at The Ark in the Xintiandi area of Shanghai. Another great site for obscure Chinese bands is Neocha: http://www.neocha.com It’s similar to MySpace with individual band sites and music sampling. They have a small program that will sample different Chinese artists continually on your computer, but sometimes loads pretty slowly when in the States. You can find Beijing’s Hedgehog with their wild girl drummer or if you like something more mellow, try Xiaojuan. Actually, my favorite Asian band is “Everybody Loves Irene” from Jakarta (on MySpace); check ‘em out when you have the time.

  110. FOARP Says:

    @Steve – Miaoli! Dude, let me ask:

    Have you been to Scorpio/SPP/Mexico Bar/Santiago’s/The Goose/Till Village/none of the above?

    Do you know Kenny Shi (manager of Mexico/Scorpio)/Jay Panaseiko/Brian Oliver/James Baron/Patrick St. Armand/Shawn DeVries/The other Shaun who looks like a member of the village people/Arnold Kressnig/ Renier & Michelle/any of the guys who worked on the high-speed rail link/ That Australian Chris/any of the rest of the Miaoli crew?

    Damn, this brings back my days of chilling in 南苗 back in 2001-2002, a lot of the expat crew there don’t have much to say about the place, but as someone fresh out of university and itching to see the world, Miaoli was a great place to be . . .

  111. GNZ Says:

    I also see BXBQ as developing his ideas, and his tone at least is civil and I like to read his perspective.
    That being said, I agree almost entirely with Jerry.

  112. Steve Says:

    @FOARP – Hey, we were neighbors and didn’t know it! I lived in Miaoli from November 2000 to November 2001, when we moved to the Ximending neighborhood of Taipei. My wife is a gym rat and would take the bus everyday to Taipei to work out at the California Fitness Center so since I was working in Hsinchu which is sorta between the two, I figured it was better to save her the commute.

    I lived right on the main drag, on the northern part of town just south of the railway station area, across the street from a school and very close to that street that goes under the railroad tracks. One main drag was named after Jiang and one after Sun; I was on the Jiang street. And guess what? One of the neighbors in our condo worked on the high speed rail link! We unfortunately can’t remember his name since he moved in shortly before we left, but he was English, married with I believe two small kids, his family wasn’t in Taiwan and I also remember that after he left that condo, his new place was robbed. He was a very nice guy and hopefully you know who I’m talking about.

    I’m afraid I don’t know any of those hangouts or people. As you know, working hours in Taiwan are 9-6 and no one ever leaves the office at 6, so my weekdays were full and weekends usually with family (she has a big family) or traveling around the island. I also spent about 30% of my time overseas, mostly in Shanghai but other places in China, HK, Seoul and Singapore.

    I agree, I thought Miaoli was cool! We lived about two blocks from that open air market under the tent. Umm…. I loved those oyster omelets they served. In fact, I don’t think I ever had a bad meal there. I remember the stinky dofu near the government supermarket was about the smelliest I ever encountered.

    Living in Miaoli was very different than living in Taipei, really thrown into the local culture without as many western influences. Plus, I think we had the most betel nut booths per capita in all of Taiwan, ha ha. My brother in law represented Miaoli province for 18 years in the old provincial assembly so everyone knew my wife’s family. In fact, my father in law built the first movie theater in the city because he felt Miaoli should have their own. We were just back there last April with our youngest son (he’s 23) who wanted to see his cousins so I had a chance to pig out on Hakka food for a few days.

    So tell me, do you ever wake up in the middle of the night with the music from the daily garbage truck echoing in your brain??? Or do you just dream about all those cute Miaoli girls???

  113. S.K. Cheung Says:

    I must say, for the first time in a while, I read BXBQ’s remarks without a visceral “you’ve got to be freakin’ poopin’ me” response, so that’s certainly a good start. As usual, I agree with Jerry, Steve, and FOARP (no big surprise there), so I hope to not be redundant.
    I can also recognize that BXBQ is road-testing some ideas, and this blog’s tolerance for same is another good reason to stick around.
    I think this whole communication thing is a project. As with many projects, it is useful to develop a framework, establish deliverables, and plan checkpoints in a timeline to measure progress. However, our project does not, for instance, seek to build a physical bridge, though perhaps a figurative one. So I don’t think our bridge necessarily has a completion date, nor will the final outcome (if there can be such a thing wrt our “bridge”) likely conform to any one person’s architectural blueprint. So when BXBQ speaks of “non-negotiable” this and “uncompromising” that, it seems to be impugning needless handicaps on what could and should be a relatively free-form process.
    I also take issue with his penchant for pedagogy. If there’s one thing he’s shown, it’s that, whatever his area of expertise may be, it does not encompass the art of communication with “westerners”. In that arena, he has as much to learn as others, if not more. And what might work with a bunch of undergrads hasn’t shown to translate well in these parts. And unlike his students, who have to listen to him, we don’t, and haven’t been. And while his students may not have the latitude to tell him what they truly think, we do, and have. If that’s not an indication that he needs to recalibrate his tune outside the lecture hall, I don’t know what is.
    As for boundaries, between individuals or between cultures, I can stipulate that they exist, and some are necessary. Some may even be non-negotiable. But I think the fewer, the better.

    As for “What is the anticipated end state that will allow you to declare “mission accomplished”” – I’d submit that sometimes, it’s not the destination, but the journey that makes the whole process worthwhile.

  114. skylight Says:

    Admin,

    You seem to be changing your tune to whatever is convenient at the time. First you say this blog was set up because of Tibetans protesting in Lhasa on March 14th. Then you say it is because of western media bias, and now it is to build a bridge between West and China.

    “And I will continue to give you the megaphone if you want sincere dialogue.”

    Do I sense a thinly veiled threat here? i.e “if you barbaric Tibetans don’t behave and show “sincerety” we will cut you off?” How much sincere dialogue do you see at this blog? Hope you treat Tibetans equally as other posters here, Thank you!

  115. skylight Says:

    “equally” as in no more, no less. We don’t need megaphones, but neither censorship.

  116. TommyBahamas Says:

    Admin,

    I agree with Allen and SKC here that “I can also recognize that BXBQ is road-testing some ideas,”

    I seriously am learning a lot here. BXBQ’s comments which tend to aggravate certain audience have been invaluable. One of my best friends who helped me a lot when I was down many years ago used to say to me, “you are my “人版” (human sample). What he meant by that was that my misfortune served to warn him and other colleagues – as a lesson, a wakeup call to those whether with or without my level of skill or talent to be mindful of foulplay and backstabbings etc. Suffice to say, it was a case of “the bird that sticks its head out gets shot,枪打出头鸟.” Often right /wrong are relative and matters little or not at all, if one fails to establish rapport with ones audience, or in my case, my (ex)boss.

    Thanks Steve for recommending some Chinese music.

    Yeah, Jerry, R-E-S-P-E-C-T – Find out what it means to me~!
    And respect to Tina Turner, “Proud Mary keeps on rolling. “

  117. admin Says:

    @skylight

    I am sorry to say your comments in this thread do not show your sincerity in dialogue.

    First of all, please don’t twist my words. I never said this blog was set up because of of Tibetans protesting in Lhasa on March 14th. Please go back to reread what I have said.

    Second, in case you haven’t noticed, this blog does not have an anchored ideological agenda and it is a work-in-progress. With that said, I clearly stated more than 4 months ago that we wanted to build a bridge between China and the West:

    We wanted to build a platform to represent Chinese perspective in English, to initiate in-depth discussions on China-related issues, and to form a community for those who care about China, regardless of nationality. In short, we wanted to build bridges between China and the West ( http://blog.foolsmountain.com/2008/05/23/thank-you-and-a-call-for-help/ )

    Third, I am proud to say since the beginning of this blog, I have never banned a singer commentator or deleted/moderated a single comment because of its expressed views. Every regular reader here knows we never censor. We respect and welcome Tibetan voices and we have featured multiple guest submissions from pro Dalai Lama posters.

    Finally, I’d like to make a note that I set up and maintain this blog with my own time and money. Your suggestions and participation are always welcome, but this is not a public service. Thank you for your understanding.

  118. Allen Says:

    @skylight #114,

    Admin will probably respond to your comments directly himself, but I’ll give you my take.

    You seem to be changing your tune to whatever is convenient at the time. First you say this blog was set up because of Tibetans protesting in Lhasa on March 14th. Then you say it is because of western media bias, and now it is to build a bridge between West and China.

    Actually, in my mind, they are all the same. The blog was set up to counter the western media bias that for many overseas Chinese first reared its prominent ugly head with the western media’s coverage of the riots. The bridge between west and China is meant to build mutual understanding, since a lack of understanding was probably the basis of western media bias.

    “And I will continue to give you the megaphone if you want sincere dialogue.”

    Do I sense a thinly veiled threat here? i.e “if you barbaric Tibetans don’t behave and show “sincerety” we will cut you off?” How much sincere dialogue do you see at this blog? Hope you treat Tibetans equally as other posters here, Thank you!

    I suppose you can take it that way. But you’d probably be guilty as me in many occasions in reading bad “intent” or “motives” into others…. (see #107)

    This blog is about “dialogue” (i.e. make reasoned statements that hopefully will enlighten everyone involved) – not a platform to “propagandize” (i.e. make unfounded statements that one knows the other side would never accept or listen).

    The Admin could have simply been telling you that he really appreciates your well articulated and reasoned posts – which “force” (or at leas tempt) many of here to listen seriously to you even though we usually may not agree with you…

    It’s one of those statements that could have been meant as a compliment, but is now taken as an insult (or at least, a veiled threat)… Sigh… :-(

    The theme of RESPECT seem to be coming up again and again throughout this thread. I guess that is definitely an important theme, as your response further indicated… Hmm – is this a concept similar to “face” that has been so vigorously discussed in another recent thread?

  119. Allen Says:

    @admin

    I set up and maintain this blog with my own time and money. Your suggestions and participation are always welcome, but this is not a public service.

    I think you are wrong on this… (Based on our various conversations off-line) I think you always did it as a public service.

    I know it’s only a blog. But there is really no other reason to do this – except as a public service for the betterment of the world! ;-)

  120. admin Says:

    Allen,

    You are right. What I meant was that this is not a public service that we are obligated to serve and answer to tax payers, but a public community where we have to work together. Sorry I did not express myself clearly.

  121. Hongkonger Says:

    Yes, Admin aka CLC,

    You have my deepest gratitude and respect. Your wonderful blog has helped me make it thru many insomniac nights. Your blog which attracts mostly high quality participants have been like many highly polished mirrors and good expereinced teachers to me.
    You are indeed doing a great public service – money and time well spent. I’d like to vote FM as the best Sino-Anglo crosscultural blog of 2008. Speaking of which, where can I go to cast such a vote? Who knows, 10 , 20 years from now, I may be among the audience cheering you on as you receive your Nobel Peace prize :-)

    P E A C E

  122. Jerry Says:

    @admin
    @FOARP, #106
    @Allen, #107

    FOARP, thanks for your kind words.

    FOARP and Allen. Allen, thanks for your reply. Belittling? I think not. Did I think that BXBQ’s post was confusing? Yes. Suspicious of ulterior motives? Yes. Was I overbearing and harsh towards BXBQ? Possibly. Did I consider the post pseudo-intellectual? Yes.

    “One thing that is important for any negotiation is the setting of a proper framework for negotiating.” I agree. And I would state that negotiating is just part of everyday life.

    BXBQ’s #102 post does not have the proper framework. To me, it was neither cohesive, coherent, cogent, articulate nor clear. Having read his OP over at the Sanlu issue, I was not surprised. Thus, I tend to seek the values listed above (coherent, …) and make some sense of what is happening.

    Hence my post at #105. As I wrote, it seemed to me that the analysis had been reverse-engineered to deliver BXBQ’s message; a pretense if you will. That’s ok with me. I will then ask questions and state opinions. I will ask, “What’s the point? Where are we going?” I will state what I see. I will give my opinions, sometimes directly, sometimes subtly. Depends on what I see as fit or appropriate.

    As you say, we all come from different backgrounds, idioms (idiotismes in French), cultures, assumptions, perceptions, prejudices, biases and in my case, a different generation. Also, as you say, progress is a strange beast, rarely in a straight line, a dance, if you will. C’est la vie. Boy, can we take things personally; I do, at times. At least we are engaged and feeling. Hopefully, we can lick our wounds and learn from the experiences. I learn a lot here at this blog. I learn a lot from life. I learn a lot by being a Russian Jewish American in Taipei. And a lot of my learning is learning about myself. And, it ain’t easy (I love colloquialisms).

    Yes, we can reinforce our prejudices based on our observations and perceptions. Or we can see the bigger picture and move past our prejudices. Or a little bit of both. Again, not easy to deal with our dark side. My comment: “Embrace your dark side and ghosts. You will have them for a long time. Better to make friends than enemies.”

    “… the only thing I can suggest is not to assume the motives of others (tough order, I know!)” I am a questioning, skeptical, oft cynical soul. I question continually; it is my nature. I have learned and continue to learn how to escape the prison of my skepticism, assumptions, biases, etc. Self-awareness is good and not easy.

    Admin and Allen, thanks for all your comments. They are thought-provoking. And thanks to you for FM.

  123. Jerry Says:

    @Nobody, #108
    @RMBWhat

    Never heard of theooze.com. I do know Harper’s well.

    The Family. Hmmm … These fundamentalist cults are a dime a dozen. David Koresh and the Branch Davidian in Waco, Jim Jones and the People’s Temple in Jonestown, Guyana, Rajneeshpuram (Rancho Rajneesh with the Bhagwan and Ma Annand Sheela) in Wasco County, Oregon, polygamous LDS (Mormon) cults in Utah and Elohim City and Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma. They are just the tip of the iceberg.

    When the cause is more important than the people involved, … Oy vey!

    —————-

    @GNZ, #111

    Good comments. I do enjoy reading other perspectives, including BXBQ’s.

    —————-

    @S.K. Cheung, #113

    Well said, SK.

    BXBQ said “What is the anticipated end state that will allow you to declare “mission accomplished””. I agree with you SK, it is the journey, not the destination. Final comment: BXBQ is quoting Shrub (GWB). The picture in my mind of the aircraft, the aircraft carrier, the flight suit, it is just TOO horrible. :D

    BTW, I watched the 2nd Fey & Poehler skit on Couric/Palin. It started off slow but finished with a bang. I just don’t want to picture Palin as VP Cutesy-Pie. OMG. ;)

    In the first skit, I love it when Poehler, in frustration, pulls off a piece of the podium. Too much! :D

    Can we ship Palin to Canada. Canadians could put her on an ice floe (near Churchill, MB) in Hudson Bay. Then if a polar bear leaps onto the floe, we could watch her cutesy-pie her way out of that.

    —————-

    @TommyBahamas, #116

    Tommy, I guess I am part of the road test. :) It is good to know other viewpoints, no matter how much they might conflict with mine. You might as well know the obstacles.

    Sometimes, in the long run, it is good to lose an ex-boss? N’est-ce pas? ;)

    —————-

    @Hongkonger, #121

    “Who knows, 10 , 20 years from now, I may be among the audience cheering you on as you receive your Nobel Peace prize”

    Outstanding, HKer! ;)

  124. Hongkonger Says:

    You might as well know the obstacles.Sometimes, in the long run, it is good to lose an ex-boss? N’est-ce pas?

    Jerry,

    I have found very little obstacles in fact in most of my cross-cultural relationships. A jerk is a jerk no matter what color, shape or culture they belong to. With a good sense of humor, a healthy degree of mutual respect, curiosity and interests in one another, I believe nice guys like you, Allen, SKC, CLC, BXBQ, Steve, GNZ , RMB What, Otto Kerner, Daniel, Oli, Joel, YuZi, rory, tommy, charlies, joyce, Michelle, netizen,pugstar, etc will all get along fine in real life. Maybe someday, when all the stars line up, we could arrange a Foolsmountain party somewhere on mother earth, perhaps a post Nobel prize-ceremony party held in China? Wouldn’t that be so cool that we all meet each other,say, a few years down the road?

  125. Hongkonger Says:

    Jerry, Steve, SKC, Allen, et al,

    Just received this link on my email from a buddy in Singapore, what do y’all think?

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10433

    As I have never lived in the West, only visited, so, I don’t know what to think. But when I read something like this, I go, wow, how true it is that 天下乌鸦一样黑 / Equally Dark (black) are the ravens under any sky.

    “Paulson, who cashed out his Goldman stock valued at $575 million to become the Secretary of Treasury (without having to pay any taxes on the sale), earned more than $53 million in pocket change during just his last two years at Goldman Sachs for innovations such as a new line of “Mortgage Backed Securities.” Gambling more than a trillion dollars on risky subprime second mortgages, Paulson cleverly converted them into AAA-rated “secure” investments by purchasing guarantees from the American International Group.The bailout’s $700 billion price tag is only an arbitrary guess by Paulson …..

  126. Jerry Says:

    @Hongkonger, #124

    HKer, I appreciate you including me in your list of nice people. Thanks. Though, I do wonder about myself occasionally.

    I am glad that you have found very few obstacles. We all have differences of opinions. In my view, there are obstacles in cross-cultural relationships, which in reality are just opportunities. Some of the opportunities take very little work. Some opportunities just take a little bit more work; some an amazing amount of work. It is all perspective. And expectations.

    I do think you are more of an optimist than I. Maybe it is just that, as I get older, I become more curmudgeonly. :D ;)

    With a good sense of humor, a healthy degree of mutual respect, curiosity and interests in one another, I believe nice guys like you, Allen, SKC, CLC, BXBQ, Steve, GNZ , RMB What, Otto Kerner, Daniel, Oli, Joel, YuZi, rory, tommy, charlies, joyce, Michelle, netizen,pugstar, etc will all get along fine in real life.

    I could not agree with you more. I would also add one more quality, healthy self-deprecation, which I consider part of a good sense of humor. I think it is good for one not to take him/her/itself too seriously. I find it harder and harder to take myself seriously as I age. Hey, life is short. Have fun.

    An FM meet-up party, in which we celebrate the winning of the Nobel Peace Prize, sounds good to me. That would be cool.

    “A jerk is a jerk no matter what color, shape or culture they belong to.” It is also ok to lose them, too. :D Again, life is short. Don’t waste it on the unwilling.

  127. RMBWhat Says:

    The family? Rainbow family? lol?

  128. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To HKer:
    that link does describe some troubling stuff indeed. I wonder if history will show it to be a replay of 2003, when everyone followed Bush like lemmings. Back then it was WMD’s, now it’s WWD’s (Wall Street Wealth Destruction). Which reminds me of a memorable Bushism: “if you fool me once, shame on you; if you fool me twice….well….uh…..ummmm……well you ain’t gonna fool me again”. Perhaps this time, the shame belongs to the elected representatives of Joe Average Americans.

    To Jerry:
    I think Canadians should take a rain-check on the Palin offer. Besides, she can just head back to Alaska and find herself a hockey-mom worthy ice floe there. Maybe even one with a view of Russia.

  129. Jerry Says:

    @Hongkonger, #125

    First of all, nobody knows where they got the $700 billion price tag, or from whose orifice it was pulled. Secondly, it looks like this has become a “shock and awe” campaign, which serves as cover for these bailout shenanigans. Paulson, Bush and Bernanke have intentionally whipped up panic to expedite the passage of the bailout.

    “Gambling more than a trillion dollars on risky subprime second mortgages, Paulson cleverly converted them into AAA-rated “secure” investments by purchasing guarantees from the American International Group.” I believe that the guarantees were a Credit Default Swap (CDS), a complex derivative, in which one party, GS in this case, purchases private, unregulated insurance from a counter-party, AIG, to secure risky investments (we used to call them junk bonds in the days of Michael Milken), a derivative (CDS) to guarantee the value of a derivative (subprime mortgages marketed through Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO) or Structured Investment Vehicles (SIV)). Sound a little bit complicated here. Well, you should see the mathematical models on which these derivatives are based.

    Getting back to the $700 billion. Will this be enough money to cover “toxic” CDOs and SIVs. Who the hell knows? All of this is making me long for the days of the Glass-Steagall act which regulated and/or banned this kind of activity.

    Now let’s discuss the ramifications of CDS. Currently, the cumulative worldwide value of CDSs is somewhere between $45 and $60 trillion. That is $45,000,000,000,000 to $60,000,000,000,000. More than I carry in my wallet. So if the CDS market melts down, how is a measly $700,000,000,000 ($700 billion) going to help?

    So now let’s talk about financial corporations’ balance sheets. How do you assess the risk of these derivatives? How do you report them on corporate balance sheets and ledgers? Who the hell knows? So how much do we have at risk in toxic assets? Who the hell knows?

    As I have said before. Paulson, Bernanke, and Bush are part of the ruling elites. The ruling elite are going to bail out the criminal ruling elite whose malfeasance has jeopardized our entire financial system. Using the American taxpayers’ money. Sounds like stealing to me. We need to restore confidence in the system. We need to craft adequate regulations to help restore this confidence and safeguard our economy. We need to throw the sorry butts of the ruling criminal elite into jail. Off with their heads. :D

  130. Jerry Says:

    @S.K. Cheung, #128

    LMAO

    OK, she can get some foreign policy experience there on the hockey-mom sized ice floe with the view of Russia. Just one problem for me. If she is in Hudson Bay near Churchill, she is a lot farther away from me than if she is in the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Strait or Arctic Ocean. Distance is good; more is better! :D ROFL

  131. Allen Says:

    @Hongkonger #125,

    Interesting link. Perhaps I will incorporate it into a piece I’ve been thinking about writing but haven’t because it’s more about the US than China.

    The fact that America has been getting less democratic rather than more is a long term trend. The strengthening of the Executive branch through much of the 20th century, the tremendous growth of the Administrative body and Administrative law (run by unelected bureaucratic officials) to manage an increasingly complex and technologically-based society, and the growing culture of the people to “worship” and look to the Supreme Court (made of “wise” unelected judges) for “moral” secular guidance are all part of a trend toward less people-control, not more.

    Now this isn’t necessarily bad per se. I for one think governance should be more a technical endeavor than a popularity beauty contest – though I also do recognize, of course, the need systemic input from the people on policies…

  132. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Jerry:
    ah, but if she’s in Hudson Bay, she’s that much closer to your daughter. So do you want the mind-numbing stupidity closer to you, or your kin. Another Sophie’s choice, I’d say. :-)

  133. Hongkonger Says:

    -New claims for unemployment benefits rose to 493,000 last week.. The economy has already lost 605,000 jobs thus far this year, and it dumped 159,000 payroll jobs just during September,
    -In 2006, 9.6 million Americans had to frequently skip meals or eat too little, and often had to go without food for a whole day.
    -Food banks who serve as the last resort for the hungry are running out of food.
    -The real estate bubble that has been driving the United States economy has now popped, and there is no replacement engine to transport America’s consumer society down the highway to happiness.
    -The people can always take to the streets in protest,
    -The U.S. government is already planning for the eventuality – with the mailed fist of military suppression.
    -Perhaps democracy in the United States is not dead; if not, it’s on its deathbed. Resuscitation in the form of responsible representation is possible, but time is growing short.

    BUT HOW????? Good people like RON PAUL and people like him? Isn’t it already beyond the point of no return? WAR, yeah, that’s how. Been done thousands of times throughout history..Yo, we’re out of this or need that…let’s invade such and so…Oh my Effing god~!

  134. Hongkonger Says:

    What a Wonderful War!

    http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/llt/51/pauwels.html

    ….an exceptionally good year for corporate America. ….. initially on a strict “cash-and-carry” basis and then through “Lend-Lease,” President Roosevelt allowed American industry to supply …military hardware and other equipment, …. all belligerent countries as well as armed neutrals like the US itself were being girded with weaponry cranked out by corporate America’s factories, ….(where Ford et al., also had branch plants), ….
    It was a wonderful war indeed, and the longer it lasted, the better — from a corporate point of view. …. Henry Ford had initially refused to produce weapons …., but now he changed his tune. According to his biographer, David Lanier Lewis, …. he suggested that the US should supply both the Allies and the Axis powers with “the tools to keep on fighting until they both collapse.” …, when it had already become clear that the Soviet Union was not about to collapse, Washington agreed to extend credit to Moscow, and concluded a Lend-Lease agreement with the USSR, thus providing the big American corporations with yet another market for their products.

  135. GNZ Says:

    HK,
    you want to respond to this crisis by putting a libertarian in charge? Bubbles and unemployed hungry people are the reasons why most people DON’T vote libertarian.
    Of course he would be doing us all a service if he cut back on all that military spending…

  136. Jerry Says:

    @Allen, #131
    @Hongkonger, #133

    Good remarks, Allen. I have been noting this decline for many years. It is interesting (for many years now) that every year on the 4th of July, KBOO Radio in Portland, Oregon sponsors an on-air reading of the Declaration of Independence. The conclusion, each year, generally has been that it is the time for a new Declaration of Independence; we are back where we started. Which is not an amazing premise if you have read Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States”

    Allen and HKer, I have been saying that Americans need a severe, painful shock(s) in order to reverse this process. Maybe this will suffice. Maybe there will be more shocks. We will just have to see.

    HKer, you mention “The U.S. government is already planning for the eventuality – with the mailed fist of military suppression”. Bill Moyers has been reporting that Blackwater is first in line to handle that duty. They want to be the paramilitary internal security force.

    Makes me wonder. In spite of all these actions by Cheney, Bush, Paulson, Bernanke, Reid, Obama, McCain, Pelosi, etc., what unintended, unexpected consequences will occur which turn the ship around? I certainly don’t know. Hmmm …

    Dennis Kucinich gave a speech on the House floor after the bailout was passed. The link to the full speech and a snippet are below.

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2008/10/03-11

    Published on Friday, October 3, 2008 by CommonDreams.org

    We Had Alternatives

    by Dennis Kucinich

    The following statement was presented on the floor of The House of
    Representatives after Congressman Kucinich voted against the Wall Street
    bail out plan, H.R. 1424, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008:

    The public is being led to believe that Congress has reconsidered its
    position because we have before us a better bill than we had a few days ago.
    It is the same bill plus hundreds of new pages for hundreds of millions of
    tax breaks. What does this have to do with the troubles of Wall Street?

    Driven by fear we are moving quickly to pass a bill, which may produce a
    temporary uptick for the market, but nothing for millions of homeowners
    whose misfortunes are at the center of our economic woes. People do not have
    money to pay their mortgages. After this passes, they will still not have
    money to pay their mortgages. People will still lose their homes while Wall
    Street is bailed out. …

    —————-

    @S.K. Cheung, #132

    You got a point. Touché. I concede. I’ll take the bullet for my daughter. :)

  137. RMBWhat Says:

    Hey Americans remember the closed congressional session they had earlier this year? Back then I heard a rumor that the closed session was about the American people getting pissed off about the economy around sept., oct time-frame. And now here we are, and NorthCom is going to start patrolling…

    I have been telling you people that this corporatist fascism crap is taking over, and some label me a conspiracy theorist.

    I don’t understand the why it may be “good.” (Like someone mentioned). No it’s not. It’s getting very far from the American ideals…

    I DO NOT want to live in a police state in America, ruled by the elite, out in the open. I mean they use to at least try to hide the fact… Now it’s total fourth Reich taking over.

  138. Hongkonger Says:

    GNZ Says: you want to respond to this crisis by putting a libertarian in charge?

    Ron Paul, a libertarian? OH, OK, so Paul has been described as conservative, Constitutionalist, and, okay, also a Libertarian. I dunno, man. Everything Paul advocates seems Conservative to me: First and foremost, he is a Medical Doctor, an obstetrician and gynecologist who has dilivered many many many babies, Dr, Paul is strongly pro-life, and has introduced bills to negate Roe v. Wade, but affirms states’ rights to allow, regulate or ban abortion, rather than federal jurisdiction.

    Dr. Paul believes in nonintervention (like China). He favors withdrawal from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the United Nations.

    He has long advocated ending the federal income tax, pledged never to raise taxes, abolishing most federal agencies, scaling back government spending, and removing military bases and troops from foreign soil. He also opposes the Patriot Act, the federal War on Drugs, No Child Left Behind, and gun regulation.

    MOney-wise, Paul favors hard money. Bringing back the American Gold Standard is one of his Presidential campaigning promises., and of course he strongly opposes the Federal Reserve.

  139. kui Says:

    To justrecently.

    Agreed again. I hope one day China will be able to persecute her top leaders and the party. But that goal looks very remote to me. Even the democratic countries seems to be unable to do it. The USA could put Clinton in court over his personal life but the same system is unable to remove Bush from power after his war caused one million Iraqies dead, millions became refugees, millions sustained injuries, thousands of American soildiers dead or disabled, plunged the country from a surplus into a massive debit…… I hope one day China can turn into a place where the law rules with incompetent leaders and party removed from power according to law. But the reality is sometimes even the basic law is missing…….

  140. FOARP Says:

    @Steve – I think I know where you were at, a bunch of Canadians I used to know (+ an American and a Dutch guy) lived in the same area – maybe it was the same building. I was just across the rails just north of the area where all the city government buildings. The last time I was there was back in 2006, but I still have a lot of affection for the place, and though I’m a long way from retirement, a place like Miaoli where the mountains are an easy bike-ride away, and a local culture and cuisine to die for is definitely high on my list of dream places to retire to.

  141. justrecently Says:

    To kui.
    It’s true – top leaders have much more opportunities to get away without punishment than “ordinary people”. Then again, people like Nixon and Weinberger only got away by presidential pardons (which hurt the chances of the pardoning presidents to get re-elected. As for corruption charges against Chirac, time will show how much truth are in them, and how the judiciary will handle them. Same with Chen Shui-bian.
    Prosecution of past crimes wouldn’t be a bad thing. But above all, people who exercise political power should be deterred from abusing their powers in the future, by standards that still need to evolve – the sooner, the better.
    Political leaders need the freedom to make far-reaching and complex decisions. But they also need basic standards that bind.
    As for Clinton however, I don’t see enough evidence to put him into the dock. Whitewater is nothing proven, nor are sexual harrassment claims. In fact, the latter became a very political face with Kenneth Starr‘s “investigations”. Sometimes, it’s a fine line between justice and political campaigns.

  142. Oli Says:

    @ admin #97

    Thanks, Andalucia was very nice and historically fascinating, but its also good to be back.

    @Jerry

    Whilst I understand your objections/aversions to the nature and content of Bxbq’s postings, I nevertheless felt compelled to defend it and venture to explain it here for a number of reasons. Firstly, while many posters here have simply dismissed Bxbq’s postings as “ranting monologues”, few have actually questioned why he actually felt this way or seek to understand his position, which is surely the purpose for this blog and the reasons why many of us return to this blog.

    Secondly and partly to answer the first question, to Chinese people, history is neither dead nor bunk. The Chinese perception and conception of history is that of a living and continuing narrative of which they themselves are intimately a part of. To many Chinese people, whether mainlanders or Overseas Chinese, history is not only a substantial part of cultural and ethnic identity, but that it is a living, evolving conceptual entity. Consequently, with regards to history and the perception of historical events, its as if the Opium War or the burning of the Summer Palaceto happened only yesterday to a typical Chinese person, nevermind that it happened 100+years ago. History, culturally and psychologically speaking is to many Chinese people a very personal issue. This I believe you, being of Jewish descent, ought to perhaps appreciate more than most other “Westerners” or non-Chinese here.

    Thirdly, we all here need to understand the nature of these postings, which are often off the cuff and where the arguments itself often lack structure or many other literary niceties of academic writings, being straight from the heart, laden with emotional overtones. However, to dismiss Bxbq’s postings as “ranting monologue” would require us to equally dismiss Starlight and The Trapped’s postings too, irrespective of the fallout in the yardstick of PC-correctness. Consequently, the prudent and tolerant approach is surely to actually and seriously think about what Bxbq has said rather than simply dismissing it as having heard it all before. This then begs the question of whilst one has heard it all before, but how often exactly has one ACTUALLY given it more serious thought?

    This equally applies to many Chinese readers and posters’ reactions to pro-Tibet postings and also vice versa, for surely to do otherwise would defeat the very reasons why many of us profess to visit this blog. We have all paid lip service to the raison d’etre of this site, perhaps it is time for us to demonstrate some genuine goodwill in the way we react to and approach others’ postings and give other posters the intellectual space to explore and to explain their points of view. With any luck maybe this will itself percolate into the way we behave away from the anonymity of the internet.

    PS personally I would like to see Bxbq expand further on his posting, perhaps as a proper entry.

  143. Steve Says:

    @FOARP I know the area well where you lived. In fact, one of my brothers in law was part owner of a very good Hakka restaurant located on the back end of that big square where they had inside parking along one side of the square, and I seem to remember an all you can eat Buddhist vegetarian restaurant on the same block.

    Since I’m married to Mrs. Gym Rat, we’ve already picked up a condo on Kangding Lu across the street from the Juan Hua Park in Ximending area near Wu Chang Lu, if you know where that is. If the California Fitness Center put a gym in Miaoli, then she’d reconsider. So when we retire, we intend to split time between San Diego and Taipei, but since three brothers and a cousin still live in Miaoli we’ll also spend plenty of time there. She also has a sister in Tienmu and a brother near Zhong Xiao and Dun Hua in Taipei, so that appeals to her.

    Remember how, when exiting Interstate 1, the exit in English going south was Kungkuan and going north was Gungguan? They couldn’t even decide which system to use on the same exit!

    The mountains east of Miaoli for me were some of the most spectacular I’ve ever hiked. Did you get a chance to visit the famous jade Buddha in that area? Or northeast of Miaoli, the temple that had that very vertical hiking trail where you hold onto the ropes on the last third for a great view? The tea grown on the tops of those mountains (my wife calls it “baby leaf tea” and it’s yellow) has actually won awards as the best tea in the world.

  144. GNZ Says:

    I gave it quite a bit of thought – and wrote a post but then realized that Jerry had it covered. I certainly would not have called it a rant or confused – but I do agree with the substantive points. there are a few cases where one gets to see this type of argument – when trying to convince a republican that bush might have done some stuff wrong, when discussing religion with a evangelical and suggesting they might be wrong and when discussing Tibet/Taiwan etc.

    It seems that these people often get into second order debating strategies, like not being critical of china in public, or promoting core beliefs that they don’t believe but they think you might (this is a republican one) etc And this results in such a tangled mess that it is almost impossible to debate to a resolution.

  145. Hongkonger Says:

    Jerry,
    “I have been saying that Americans need a severe, painful shock(s) in order to reverse this process. Maybe this will suffice. Maybe there will be more shocks.”

    Is American ruling elites doing what Joseph Schumpeter euphemistically discribes as Creative Destruction? “The…process of industrial mutation… incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of creative destruction is the essential fact of capitalism.”

  146. Tenzin Says:

    To Admin: I realise taht you have set this blog on your money/time/effort etc. Yet it will be quite sad if everytime someone criticises you and you duck under the cover of personal initiative. I think this blog is what it is because of readers and contributors too.

    When you call for “sincerity” with regard to me and other Tibetan posters you know why I take it as a threat? Now, now, dont try to justify it. I have seen more lopsided and extreme views by CCP supporters on this blog. So do you question their “sincerity” too?

    Not every Tibetan speaking for what they believe is good for Tibetans are automatically pro-Dalai Lama. MAybe we are just pro-Tibetans, and nothing to do with being anti-chinese too. Can you wrap your head around this? Unless people leave their prejudices behind and really talk to and listen to each other rather than regurgitating the same old crap, there can be no dialogue, leave alone sincerity.

    Like I said before, I am not here to try and convince anyone to my views so I dont need the megaphone you sincerely offered. I am here to share my opinion and learn from opinions of others.

  147. admin Says:

    @Tenzin,

    First all, I am sorry if you and others take my using the word “sincerity” as a threat. I never intended it to be perceived that way and I apologize.

    I never questioned anybody’s sincerity in other threads because of their views. The reason I used it here because skylight twisted my words and you used a mocking tone “nostalgic already?”. In retrospect, I think I am guilty of overreaction.

    You are absolutely right that this site is what it is, not because of me, but because of our writers, contributors and commentators such as you. And I can’t say this enough, I really, really want to have Tibetans like you to stay around, not to change your views, but for us to listen and to reflect.

  148. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    Oli 142,

    Thanks for the comments. Your elaboration gives the model a historical perspective and applies it to concrete events in the evolution of the New China.

    I will definitely expand on it. I am ruminating over the structure in my mind, how to tie the various strains of facts, propositions and conclusions together. It is a simple model. But aren’t we trained to build the simplest possible models, to account for the largest possible amount of facts in the most parsimonious way? I will post the product here is it does not sabotage the collective mission of other Fools Mountain writers.

    Lastly, don’t feel apologetic for those who lack understanding and thoughtfulness. Commenter Joel has already accused me of looking down upon uneducated people, which is grossly unfair.

  149. Jerry Says:

    @Oli, #142

    Sorry, somehow I missed your post. Just saw BXBQ’s post to you and went looking for your post. I will get back to you in the next day or 2. I have been spending my time over on the latest Taiwan OP. Thanks for your thoughtful post which I just perused briefly.

  150. chinayouren Says:

    Finally back to civilization, to find this post. It’s a great blog admin, keep it up.

    And don’t worry about the Olympics being over, China will keep surprising us with unexpected developments every single day, like she’s been doing for the last years. No doubt we shall have news to comment on. Just wish most of them are of the good kind.

    Thanks for this blog!

  151. FOARP Says:

    @Steve – I believe the temple you went to is Shitoushan (Lion’s head mountain) and it’s definitely worth a visit. Yeah I ate in both those restaurants, and the food wasn’t bad at all, but I preferred the Hakka food, especially the way they do their meat balls – I’m no vegetarian! I also used to cycle over to the reservoir every so often, but I don’t think I ever visited the jade buddha. One thing I was glad I got to see up close whilst i was there was that fantastic statue of Guangong in Zhunan (you know, the huge red one you can see from the train from Taipei down to Miaoli).

    Yup, the multitude of confusing methods they have for Romanisation in Taiwan are definitely a pain if your trying to learn Chinese, thankfully I decided on totally ignoring anything that wasn’t written in Hanyu Pinyin whilst I was there, but it makes it difficult for people to know what your talking about。 The town I just mentioned (Zhunan – 竹南) is also written ‘Chunan’, ‘Jhunan’ – totally confusing and useless to anyone who can’t read Chinese and wants to know where they are going.

    The mountains to the east of town were gorgeous though, I read in a guide book that Taiwan gets its name from the way you see rank-after-rank of mountains towering above each other, I don’t know if this is true or not, but it certainly feels true. The east coast was the best, I spent a week with my parents when they came over for a visit up in Taroko Gorge ( http://wikitravel.org/en/Taroko_Gorge ) staying at the Grand Formosa ( http://www.grandformosa-taroko.com.tw/ ) – the only way of describing the place is ‘stunningly beautiful’ . . .

    Right, that’s it! The next holiday I get (which could be a while) I’m going back to Taiwan for the maximum stay the visa will allow . . . and given the way the weather has been of late in the UK I might very well not come back!

  152. prophet Says:

    http://www.zonaeuropa.com/200810a.brief.htm#010

    Road Kill (10/05/2008) (Beijing News) On October 3, there was a chain collision…. 3 deaths and 7 injuries…Several passengers …. began to play cards while they waited.

    Someone e-mailed me the above link with the question, “What would the Fool’s Mountain folks say about this,” and signed off with “Ma Mu” (麻木)at its finest.”

    I have no idea. Best way to find out is to post it here, I guess.

  153. FOARP Says:

    @Prophet – Although I cannot think of a specific instant when people have started playing games at the scene of a fatal accident, there have been instances of British crowds gathering beneath someone threatening to jump of a building and shouting ‘jump’ – people are the same where ever you go.

    My boss in Nanjing, a professor in English, committed suicide by throwing himself from the fifth floor – he had just tried to kill our secretary by stabbing her in the back with a 12″ long knife, luckily she survived, but he must have thought he had killed her. Nobody knew why he did it, but everybody suspected that the two had been having an affair. Afterwards a crowd gathered around the body, some of them were pointing and laughing, the man’s wife and daughter were at the scene as well – it was terrible to watch, but it was only human to want to know what was going on. There is a scene in the book “The World Of Suzie Wong” where Suzie Wong’s baby is killed in a flood and people laugh and joke around a collapsed house, but they are only laughing as a nervous reaction – this is how I look at such things as well.

  154. Steve Says:

    @FOARP – Howdy, neighbor! Nope, not Shitoushan. I went there on my first visit to Taiwan. This one is called Heaven Mountain. You’d take the road east of Miaoli past the reservoir and through those small tunnels until the road comes to a “T” by Wenshui. Make a left and go about ten miles. You’d see this temple on the right or east side. If you made a right at the “T” and went just a couple of miles, then made a right across the river, you’d find a one lane winding road to the top of a mountain where the Jade Buddha is. The view is terrific! Those mountains are unusual; rising straight up , almost like the karsts near Guilin but subtropical vegetation. East Miaoli county is really an undiscovered scenic paradise.

    I’m with you; I definitely prefer Hakka food to vegetarian. Fortunately, my wife is a great cook so I eat that way everyday. I remember that big statue of Guangong you’ve described. Did you ever visit the big black Buddha statue south of Taichung in Changsha? Impressive but ugly.

    Hanyu Pinyin is definitely the way to go. All the other styles make my head spin. Speaking of Taroko Gorge, we visited there on my first trip to Taiwan, then took my parents there in late 2002 and also stayed at the Grand Formosa. My mom loved the aborigine dances behind the hotel, reminded her of Native American ones.

    On our last trip there, we checked out Alishan and saw the sun rise over Taishan, which is the largest mountain in East Asia outside the Himalayas, even higher than Mount Fuji. However, I wouldn’t recommend it, one of those “been there, done that” type of experiences. The best thing about that trip was seeing wild monkeys along the side of the road. Lugang east of Taichung was interesting. It was Taiwan’s second largest city after Tainan and largest shipping port during the Qing dynasty but silted up when the Japanese took over and moved the shipping to the northern part of the island. It’s where THE temple to Matsu, Tienhou Temple, is located. All the old buildings were preserved so it’s like walking back in time. My favourite place was “breast touching lane”. Tried it with my wife; great fun!

    I think they might have extended the stay without visa from two weeks to three, but I typically use a 5 year visitor visa with stays up to 60 days, issued for free in the States. Can you get the same thing in the UK?

    If you ever happen to be near San Diego, let me know so my wife can whip up a home cooked Hakka meal for you.

  155. Jerry Says:

    @Hongkonger, #145

    I intentionally took time in replying. Sometimes reflection is required.

    I don’t know Joseph Schumpeter at all. I know he is an economist. His concept of “Creative Destruction” sounds somewhat idealized to me.

    Several comments and thoughts.

    Life is about creation, living and destruction. Look at Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva (and I just can’t forget his girlfriend, Kali). People are born, live and die. This applies to animals, insects, stars, galaxies, cells, corporations, companies, software development, etc. Life cycles.

    The ruling elites are generally very wealthy people. In general, they have come to like their lifestyle very much. They like the power to control and regulate the government and the economy to their liking. They are a Good Old Boys’ club, which after all is a community. A community of people like themselves who at least they understand and for the most part respect. Occasionally, they have “frat boy” scrums like Citi v Wells Fargo for the hand (and the money/dowry) of the fair maiden, Wachovia. :)

    Ism’s (e. g., capitalism) and acy’s (e. g., democracy) in and of themselves do not regulate themselves. Regulation and control are needed. Institutions are needed. Now here comes the rub: who gets to regulate and control?

    The ruling elite, who enjoy their wealth, power and lifestyle, are mostly addicted to such. Thus, they buy government cooperation via lobbying and campaign donations. This allows them to regulate government, democracy and capitalism (and whatever else they deem appropriate). Occasionally, their manipulative, greedy style gets them in trouble. Witness their current problems on Wall Street. And who should come to rescue, Superman or Spiderman? No, it is Hank Paulson, one of the ruling elites, cloaked in the mantle of respectability granted by the title, Secretary of the Treasury. We’ll just have to see what happens.

    What we have now are crises of confidence in Wall Street, the economy (both in the US and abroad), the financial and banking system (again, both in the US and abroad), commodities markets, and food prices. Crises like these generally come about when much to everyone’s surprise, “The emperor has no clothes!” We are now starting to see the impact of the years of deceit, greed and unregulated power. We have been detecting this for a while, but the current crises have slapped us in the face. Perhaps Americans, Europeans and Asians are waking up. Perhaps.

    I doubt the elites will ever allow rampant “free market capitalism”, true democracy and “Creative Destruction” to exist. They co-opt terms like this for public consumption. Then, in greedy, sub rosa games, they will make sure that senators, congressmen and the Executive branch do their bidding. Just what you would expect out of a government they bought and paid for. And the media, which the ruling elites own, will proclaim goodness and wonderfulness across the land. The media will say the right things and let the public (also know as the “rabble”, “riffraff” or “simpletons”) think that they have a major say in ruling the country. And that Congress, politicians and the Prez are on their side. All the while the ruling elites are stealing from the “riffraff”.

    You have to watch out for institutions, ism’s and acy’s. Sometimes the cause becomes bigger than the people involved. My question: is the institution and/or ism/acy serving the people, or are the people serving the ism/acy?

    One final comment. If our bodies ran like the current economic system, the body would be miserable, suffer much illness, disorder, cancer and disease, and die much sooner than necessary.

    Just one man’s opinion. I kept telling you I was cynical, sarcastic and skeptical. :D

  156. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Oli #142:
    I certainly agree that civility is a cornerstone of any polite discussion, and this blog hosts as polite a discussion as one could find anywhere, I imagine, considering the topics discussed here. As an extension, I agree that comments and criticisms should be directed at the ideas, and not the bearer of those thoughts.

    However, I disagree that ideas have been dismissed out of hand as “ranting monologues”. In fact, I would submit that most criticisms have involved point-by-point exfoliations of the ideas presented. I would venture so far as to say that, given the poster’s recent track-record, his posts probably get scrutinized more than most. I know I tend to give them special attention. So I think his “ideas” have received serious consideration. But such serious consideration does not preclude them from being dismissed in the end, if they are so deserving. Maybe that degree of disproportionate scrutiny is somewhat unfair. Then again, perhaps he’s earned it.

    As for exploring and explaining his point of view, or their foundations, he is welcome to provide such insight. But it behooves the writer to explain his motivations to the listeners, and not the other way around.

    Of course, when he feels that those who disagree with him are lacking in “understanding and thoughtfulness”, I’m doubtful if such insight will be forthcoming. And I’m also doubtful that such insight, if presented, will be all that insightful.

  157. HKger Says:

    Jerry,

    Truly appreciate your thoughtful reply.

    “Just one man’s opinion. I kept telling you I was cynical, sarcastic and skeptical.”

    I am wondering if Your views and opinions are quite common in America? The reason being that I have a pen pal (wow, that’s a word I haven’t used for decades), an American working mother and writer. She, for example, is well aware that “the people” have been and are being lied to by the US gov’t. Then there are credible geniuses like Noam Chomsky, Journalist John Pilger, and perhaps tens of thousands of like minded others, some with political influence others academic pulls – YET, Dubya was elected twice and Al Gore cheated of his winning. And now you have Obama & McCain instead of Ron Paul & the other guy who helped stopped Vietnam war. So, Ok, you and many have repeatedly conceded that America is not a democracy but a republic or a plutocracy(another -acy, two cheeks of the same ass). Anyway, what I am getting at is, whatever so-called freedom of speech and self determination, there is essentially nothing could be done about stopping these ruling elites in exploiting the people, short of an all out revolution.
    I am not defending anyone here, but I kinda feel the chinese people are pragmatic and realistic. Thousands of years of revolution and every replaced powers atrophy within the same generation. There’s a chinese saying, “to be a monk for day, to ring the bell once,” meaning to live a day at a time — For when the time comes to do what history demands, there’s is no running away — Pointless shouting about it and bringing chaos to a stable (a relative concept) society. Enjoy the sun when the clouds are still afar….you get my drift, I’m sure.

  158. Jerry Says:

    @Hongkonger, #145

    “I am wondering if Your views and opinions are quite common in America?” HKer, I really don’t think so. It has taken a lot of pain, investigation and self-reflection to acquire my opinions and viewpoint. I just think that is not uppermost on many people’s agenda. The main stream media (pr/marketing, not journalism, per se) is very good at what they do. As Noam Chomsky titled it, “Keeping the rabble in line.” (Yes, it is the title of one of his analyses and speeches.)

    Furthermore, my willingness to criticize my Jewish culture and Israel does not put me in the mainstream, by any means. I do not spend my life tearing into the troubling parts of Jewish culture and Israel’s treatment of our Semitic brothers and sisters, the Arabs, in Israel, Jordan and Lebanon. I just speak how I feel when I deem appropriate.

    I know that Avram Noam Chomsky is very popular in “angst-ridden” Seattle, where I used to live. His talks at the UW or Town Hall are packed. They are usually filmed by Seattle Channel and shown on cable and online. In general, my Jewish and Israeli friends consider him a pariah.

    I am a fan of Chomsky, both his substance and style. But he is not a 5 to 15 second sound bite kind of guy. He is a serious intellectual. His speeches and books are weighty, to say the least. He is so detailed.

    It was interesting watching a debate he had with Alan Dershowitz, also a Jew, at Harvard in 2005. The topic: “Israel and Palestine After Disengagement: Where Do We Go From Here?” To me, Chomsky, debated the issue. Dershowitz used it as a Zionist soapbox from which to launch a demagogic diatribe. Alan, Alan, Alan. You are just so damned hateful.

    I also like Norm Finkelstein, who got blitzkrieged by Dershowitz. Finkelstein, a Jew whose parents survived concentration camps, willingly took on Joan Peters’ defense of Israel, Elie Wiesel’s “exploitation” of the Holocaust and Dershowitz’s defense of Israel. His debates with Dershowitz were very vituperative, to say the least. I can easily believe that Dershowitz hates Finkelstein. Finkelstein was on his way to tenure at Chicago’s DePaul University when Dershowitz launched a covert attack on him. Finkelstein was dismissed by DePaul and later settled his subsequent lawsuit out of court. Finkelstein has even been denied entry to Israel.

    The reason being that I have a pen pal (wow, that’s a word I haven’t used for decades), an American working mother and writer. She, for example, is well aware that “the people” have been and are being lied to by the US gov’t. Then there are credible geniuses like Noam Chomsky, Journalist John Pilger, and perhaps tens of thousands of like minded others, some with political influence others academic pulls

    Yes, there are Greg Palast, Pilger, Naomi Klein, Chomsky, Ralph Nader, Robert Fisk, Bill Moyers, Amy Goodman, Ed Herman, Juan Cole, Helen Thomas, William Greider, Michael Moore, John Dean, Michael Parenti, Howard Zinn, George Monbiot, Studs Terkel, Norm Solomon, etc. Just go out to commondreams.org and truthout.org. You will see many more.

    I am glad that you pen pal is aware.

    And I think I get your drift. I think the American ruling elite started when the country was founded in 1776. After all, the constitution was written and hammered out by 50 or so rich white guys (The original American Good Old Boys’ club). Those rich white guys saw what they were able to do to King George. By god, they were not going to let somebody turn around and do it to them.

    You will have to take the lead on the Chinese experience. I don’t know. But I have questions. Are stability and harmony just cloaks for conformity? Are the Chinese realistic, or are they resigned (I keep hearing about Chinese determinism and fatalism)? You have enacted some very good laws according to what I read on FM and other media (I can’t remember specifically; maybe you could help me with this one). Why aren’t they enforced? As you get more super-wealthy people in China, won’t they become the ruling elite and create the same problems which I see in the US? After all, it would seem that wealthy, powerful people would have the same propensity for greed no matter where they are located?

  159. robert Says:

    I’ve been following this blog since about June, but haven’t been reading it lately. I’ve only scanned the previous posts above so I apologise if I’m being repetitive.

    The last time I posted something here I mentioned how this blog seemed to focus a lot of attention on the West. One month later I still get that same feeling after scanning through this thread and blog. I just don’t get why the priority is analysing China-West relations. What about China-and-the-rest-of-the-world relations?

    For example, I would like to see more discussion on China’s relationship with Sudan, and believe more can be said about this. I would point out that this website only has a few articles on this subject (two, I believe).

    That leads me to the reason why I visit this blog. I’ve always wondered what about Chinese attitudes towards securing sources of energy for their growing economy. Further to that, I’ve also wondered a lot about China and climate change. My perception, from this blog, is that, relatively speaking, there isn’t as much effort spent dwelling on these issues as compared to the amount of time spent worrying about China-West relations.

  160. Hongkonger Says:

    Are stability and harmony just cloaks for conformity? Are the Chinese realistic, or are they resigned (I keep hearing about Chinese determinism and fatalism)?

    Like I said, thousands of years of revolution and every replaced power atrophy within the same generation. This is purely my POV. As for fatalism/determinism, these to me is not uniquely chinese. It may be the perceived attributes of Eastern POVs as much as I see the same -isms in the idea that whatever happened good or bad, mostly bad , I gather, hence the phrase, “acts of God,” or “the will of God.” There is, of course, the biblical & Pauline concept of — predestination– Different words, same conceptual attributes of Christendom or Judeo-theocracy. However, as a people, the Chinese are known to be pragmatic and realistic. As for conformity , again, this is human nature, otherwise trends and fashions would have no traction for movement in any society. I love Carlin’s satire, “Oh, the idea that any schmuck with a two-bit prayer could change the mind of god and screws up a perfectly thought-out divine plan is preposterous!” (paraphrased). Do I hear “Amen”?

  161. FOARP Says:

    @Steve – I might even be in your neck of the woods in the next year or so, a good friend of mind lives in San Diego, and another guy I knew in Shanghai is training at Camp Pendleton.

  162. Hongkonger Says:

    Yes, there are Greg Palast, Pilger, Naomi Klein, Chomsky, Ralph Nader, Robert Fisk, Bill Moyers, Amy Goodman, Ed Herman, Juan Cole, Helen Thomas, William Greider, Michael Moore, John Dean, Michael Parenti, Howard Zinn, George Monbiot, Studs Terkel, Norm Solomon, etc. Just go out to commondreams.org and truthout.org.
    Thanks for the list of names, many whose works I admire, and the two links, one of which I do occassionally visit.
    I see you are a fan of Noam Chomsky. He is indeed a genius. Bored with college, Chomsky almost joined the kibbutz in the West Bank if not for a woman and a good professor. In the end, it took Noam Chomsky merely six WEEKS to complete his PhD program, making him part of perhaps the world’s fastest PhD program, ever. This he did in order to be exempt from military service. Over the years, I believe he’d received 40 or so honorary degrees, and is known as the father of genrative linguistics and also the father of an ultra-left wing American movement. I used to stay up all night to listen to his speech on internet radio and watch him Youtube.

    Jerry, the other person who could keep me up all night with his radio talk show and taking notes, is anti-war hero, and British MP George Galloway.

    http://www.georgegalloway.com/page.php?page=content/videoaudio.html

    Chomsky is a soft-spoken speaker while Gallaway is full of energy.

  163. Steve Says:

    @FOARP – Let me know when it gets close and we’ll figure out a way to meet. I live in Rancho Penasquitos, a San Diego neighborhood directly east of Del Mar.

  164. FOARP Says:

    @Steve – Ditto if you’re ever in my neck of the woods, my email is fearofaredplanet@yahoo.co.uk, add me on facebook if you have an account – us Miaoli ren have to stick together!

  165. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To HKer:
    you have a pen pal…do you mean actual writing….with a pen….on paper?? :-)

  166. Hongkonger Says:

    SKC, You got me there. It must be my age. I am beginning to miss old fashion things. Hey, since you are online, mind sharing with me / folks here, the practicality of democracy and rights to arm? I grew up loving those two ideas. Well, not really, I was never into politics, but I sure loved shooting stuff. Used to go hunting with my dad (This was not in HK ) We’d go home by sunset with wild pigeons and occassionally a wild boar. The pigeons were for home consumption. As for the boar, my Dad’s countryside friend usually took them and would give us a pot of the cooked meat a couple days later. My mom’s soya sauce marinated air-dried, deep-fried pigeons was to die for – figuratively speaking, of course, for the pigeons, that is.
    As for Democracy, I grew up in one, again not British-HK, where I was born. I don’t remember anyone I knew voted~! Nevertheless, albeit the ever skeptical apolitical Asian community, we/they always knew who and which party were gonna win. It was all bought and paid for, therefore it was not hard to figure out. We knew the guys without the nicest sedans and flashiest homes stood no chance. Politics is afterall the first and the last refuge of scoundrels, coupled with the fact that birds of a feather flock together, it was a no-brainer. Just as it was in the long history of our ancestral homes, so it was the same in our adopted countries. And apparently in US of A too. Hm, so why join the show, support the charade, not to mention the billions of dollars spent to enrich the advertisement industry, and the rest of it? It is kinda like shopping for sportswear on the popular sportswear street in Mongkok, HK. All the shops selling sportswear with different shop names and brand name selections are in fact owned by the same business group. So, in the end the money all went to the same people who monopolize the market regardless of which shop along that street a purchase is made. As far as the customers are concerned they have a lot of choices, but the prices are cleverly fixed and averaged out, with pre-selected items tagged with slight price differences to further draw and to give the consummers the illusion of finding a bargain which they will brag about, therefore generating free advertising thru words of mouth, as a known cause-and-effect phenomena, precalculated and manipulated by the hired marketing team of the said group.
    Thanks to Mao, the people of MIddle Kingdom have no guns. But, hey, Americans have guns. Yet, why the hell are these ruling scumbags still given free rein to rob the poor for their cronies and to support their ostentatious lifestyles after 2 and a half centuries? Do the Americans of today really believe that votes where it counts are really counted?????

  167. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Well HKer,
    perhaps things are not as bleak in Canada, but nonetheless there’s definitely room for improvement. The special interests you allude to are certainly a blight of our “western” system.

  168. Malaysian Chinese Says:

    So much from all of you guys from West.

    Funny, there are actually more Chinese diaspora in all of SE Asia than there are in all of the Western world combined & yet it is such a pity that there is so little voices from us from this part of the world that it makes it appear that it is quite irrelevant/unimportant to the strategic interest of China. Sad really, for if ever China wishes to engineer a breakthrough in her encircled isolation imposed by the US Pacific Fleet in collaboration with its Japanese/S Korean/Australian allies & whoever who wishes to jump onto the bandwagon, SE Asia provides just the perfect puntuation point unrivalled anywhere else. I am pretty sure serious Chinese strategic thinkers would not have missed this point. Perhaps there should have been more think-tanks consisting of sharp & intelligent minds drawing directly from SE Asian diaspora posing as acute advisors to the Chinese leadership.

    There is still a reasonably remnant pool of goodwill & nostalgic adorations of motherland China from the older generations of Chinese in SE Asia diaspora but they are unfortunately dying out fast. The younger generations may not share this bond quite as strongly as before due to their schooling & upbringing environment. Hence, China may be running against time in trying to recement & reenhance this valuable bondage in its favour.

    Perhaps we should start our own blog to present our perspectives to Chinese all over the world.

  169. saimneor Says:

    #168,

    I would be interested to read it.

    I am chinese but I am very ignorant about SE Asia. I met ethic chinese from Malaysian before. They are rich and apparently from a different class; for example, they have servants in their family when they grew up. Historically chinese people in SEAsia countries were not treated well, although they were rich. Those stories for sure painted a bad image of those countries.

    The really bad thing hurts a chinese’s feeling is during the SARS crisis, Singapore’s behavior and attitude. Although we know Singapore is a special case, the general view on SEAsia is there are a lot of people but they countries are chaotic and not important. I think that is an arrogant view from the chinese for lack of self confidence.

    However, I do want to have a good way to learn more. Try post some stories here!

  170. Oli Says:

    @saimneor 169

    I would suggest you read this entry on Malaysian ethnic politics on this site as well as the posted comments before you make up your mind…

    http://blog.foolsmountain.com/2008/09/11/malaysias-ethnic-politics/

  171. Jerry Says:

    @Hongkonger, #160,

    #160

    It may be the perceived attributes of Eastern POVs as much as I see the same -isms in the idea that whatever happened good or bad, mostly bad , I gather, hence the phrase, “acts of God,” or “the will of God.” There is, of course, the biblical & Pauline concept of — predestination– Different words, same conceptual attributes of Christendom or Judeo-theocracy.

    Well, the terms, “acts of God” and “the will of God” have sure changed. “Acts of God” is now part of contractual language to apply to natural phenomena, not so much to something caused by God. The “will of God” is most found in fundamentalist arms of various religions and creeds: Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Jewish, Mormon, Charismatics, assorted sects, etc. I think it is used by those in power to imprison their followers.

    Ah, the Bible, Book of Mormons, Talmud, Torah, the Old and New Testament. Good words if you don’t let them become your prison. The Jews used to be imprisoned by the angry, ever-demanding Yahweh and his words enshrined in the Torah and Talmud. Judaism was a protection for Jews, but also their prison. Consider this: who wrote the Torah, Talmud and told us that Yahweh was angry and displeased with us? And how did they benefit from it?

    Besides the external repression and persecution, there was internal repression and persecution, which could be violent. A discussion for a different day. In various ways, Jews, nearly 100-150 years ago, started being exposed to different ideas about our tolerance of our own psychological prisons and the persecution we suffered. We started to experience the magical epiphany and enlightenment embodied in saying and thinking, “We don’t have to put up with this crap anymore!” Thus began a difficult, painful, ongoing, worthwhile transformation for the Jews. It is still going on. If we had continued our long-suffering ways, imprisoned by an intransigent Yahweh, Judaism and our own leaders, I believe there would be very few or no Jews left.

    At this time, I will not go into our over-reactions which have been part of our transformation. Our paranoia, Zionism, our proclivities towards being hyper-driven and over-achieving, Alan Dershowitz, David Horowitz, Ehud Olmert, the past war in Lebanon, AIPAC, Israel First, and our treatment of the Palestinians are all part of those over-reactions on our part. In general, we are not perfect, still have work to do, and we are much better off than 150-200 years ago. And we are here. Our over-reactions are a cautionary tale for all who are transforming.

    It is because of our transformation and breaking away from our self-imposed psychological and emotional prisons, that I asked the question, “Are the Chinese realistic, or are they resigned (I keep hearing about Chinese determinism and fatalism)?”

    I accept your response on an academic, intellectual basis. I have no reason for doubting your sincerity. Emotionally, I just can’t understand fatalism and determinism. And I know way too much about Einsteinian physics. I just can’t make sense of fatalism and determinism. Especially when I see what Jewish fatalism and determinism did for and to us. Thankfully, a number of my ancestors woke up. And we are continuing to wake up.

    Regarding conformity, that is also present in the West. And we in the West have our own little clever devices to abstract it. Marketing and the media have made conformity into an art.

    —————-

    #166, 167

    SK and HKer, interesting topic. I am not an NRA member, don’t like the late Charlton Heston, and have never owned a gun or a rifle. I know about the large number of handgun deaths in the US. I know about kids and accidental deaths using their parents’ guns and rifles.

    Nonetheless, I have an interesting point to ponder. What if there weren’t so many guns, rifles and ammunition in the hands of the public, many of whom are former soldiers, trained to use those weapons? Hmmm… Maybe those in power would be tempted to introduce tyranny, martial law, and absolute rule? Don’t know. Hope we never find out.

  172. Allen Says:

    @Malaysian Chinese,

    Perhaps we should start our own blog to present our perspectives to Chinese all over the world.

    That’d not be necessary. I think you and others like you should join this blog and make your voice heard!

    This blog is built to build bridges between the West and China because the founders were from China living now in the West.

    But what a wonderful idea if other Chinese diaspora can join!

    The point is is to better connect China and the rest of the world to better enable a peaceful rise of China…

  173. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Jerry:
    “Maybe those in power would be tempted to introduce tyranny, martial law, and absolute rule? Don’t know. Hope we never find out” – I thought the fourth amendment bit about having an armed militia was to prevent such a scenario? (I might have my amendment numbers all screwed up)

  174. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Allen:
    “The point is is to better connect China and the rest of the world to better enable a peaceful rise of China…” – I agree. Malaysian Chinese sounds like he’s looking more for a conquest or two.

  175. GNZ Says:

    In South East Asia there is often some racial tension between the Chinese and the ‘locals’ due to the fact that the Chinese tend to dominate business. Particularly in places like Malaysia where the law favors the Malays. That means you can get shops where you get a Chinese discount.
    One of my friends fathers was particularly annoyed, not surprisingly, by the prayer calls that apparently ‘drove him insane’. So I’d not be surprised if some Malaysians were a bit romantic about being liberated by China particularly with the collapse in respect for the USA and the west.

  176. Jerry Says:

    @S.K. Cheung, #173, 174

    #173

    “I thought the fourth amendment bit about having an armed militia was to prevent such a scenario? (I might have my amendment numbers all screwed up)”

    SK, I am no Constitutional scholar. But doesn’t the 4th amendment protect us against unlawful search and seizure? The second amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms.

    The 2nd amendment states “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    —————-

    #174

    “Malaysian Chinese sounds like he’s looking more for a conquest or two” Maybe that is why the US still has citizens armed with guns and a big military. :D

  177. Malaysian Chinese Says:

    Last week marked the end of the Ramadhan, & it literally translates into Muslims being ‘freed’ again to consume whatever they desire at any time of their choice. Normally, in Muslim-majority Malaysia, the state would mark this auspicious occasion with the all-too-important, 2-day holiday dubbed Hari Raya (Hari=day, Raya=grand, big). The Malays, being almost 99% Muslims, would perform their time-honoured traditions of celebrating the ‘big days’ by going back to their rural home towns to honour their elders, especially their parents & at the same time meet up with relatives, siblings, old friends, sweeping the tombs of their ancestors (contrary to us Chinese who would have considered it utmost taboo to visit the cemetaries during Chinese New Year) & all these sort of things.

    As a by product of some relentless economic growths for the past 10 to 20 years, Malaysia has arrived as the most motorised country in SE Asia. So, naturally as a consequence of an almost week-long holiday (most people would take some days of to coincide with the statutory holidays so as to complete one 7-day continuous streak), all the major expressways were so jam-packed that the artillary North-South trunk roads were simply turned into bizarred ‘parking lots’. Driving has rightly turned into nightmarish experience. Malaysians have been treated to this insulting outrages year in & year out with no foreseeable solution in sight (lack of political will to tackle the situation). To add insult to injury, motorists are bestowed these injustices even when they have paid their road tolls (which were supposed to be in exchange for a blissful free-of-all-hassle drive). True to its 3rd-world status, consumerism rights & all those craps about human rights in a civil society simply do not exist & people are just resigned to enduring these hardships as if they are the natural things to happen.

    I drove my family from Kuala Lumpur to S’pore on the 1st day of Raya. Mindful of the grid-locks along the way, we started our journey at 5 am (wee hours) just before sunrise. The journey of 370 km took us a respectable 4.5 hours before we arrived at the Malaysian-S’pore custom/immigration check-point. The scenes at the border could have been more stark:
    .there were scenes of utter chaos on the Malaysian side with virtually no trafic control & motorists were scrambling to queue-jump
    .due to the never-ending constructions going on on the Malaysian side, all the lanes were so ill-marked & custom booths not properly sign-marked that they simply add to the already chaotic confusions
    .once we crossed over to the S’porean side, the contrast could not be imagined-immigration personnels in full strength, facilities were state-of-the-art, traffic was smooth albeit slow due to stringent security checks.

    All in all, this state of affairs truly reflects S’pore being 1st-world as compared to M’sia being 3rd-world. Their performances simply give away their attitudes & psyches-the will to excel vs lacklastre mediocracy. In a nutshell, Chinese (S’pore being Chinese-dominated) diaspora, if left alone & unobstracted, can achieve wonders despite all odds. For most of us Chinese in SE Asia, we are so frustrated because we know we can build ourselves wonderfully high-achieving countries if & only if we hold the reign of power which is so deliberately & institutionally denied us.

  178. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Malaysian Chinese:
    you are sounding more and more like a scary dude. First of all, sounds like the Muslim majority are celebrating a religious holiday. That it inconveniences you is unfortunate. But at the same time, it’s not like it was a surprise. Maybe next year, you’ll pick a different time to go for your SUnday drive.
    Second, the nature of those religious celebrations is a part of their culture. That it is contrary to what Chinese would do is irrelevant. If you want others to respect your culture, you would do well to first set an example. BTW, Chinese have an entire holiday devoted to visiting gravesites; would you appreciate it if a Muslim person told you that was silly? Tolerance is a two way street.
    The fact is, you and your ancestors availed yourself to another country. You should make the best of it for yourself. That may be achieved by complaining. Or that may be achieved by actually doing something about it. The grass is often greener on the other side. But if your current circumstance is truly so intolerable, then your mecca is just north-northwest of where you sit now.

  179. Xenu Says:

    Always interesting to read the perspective from a Chinese side and this blog does not disappoint. I’ve observed many english bloggers in their struggle to understand China leads them to generalize and it imbues a monolithic view of China, this blog does a good job of balancing that out with unique perspectives.

  180. Virginia Says:

    Hello Chinese bloggers – can you help me with some information?

    I noticed this panel discussion – happening today (10/24) here in California, at UC Irvine at the “Public Spheres, Blogospheres” conference.

    Can you tell me your opinions of The China Beat blog?

    does The China Beat accurately report on China?

  181. Virginia Says:

    hello out there? I am NOT another FOARP. He is what I call a “hate-blogger” and I am not.

    I am just a person trying to communicate whats gone wrong with America’s media, regarding the Chinese.

    Something IS very wrong, I can see that, and it is obviously due to some sort of well-funded propaganda.

    Of what type, who knows?? as you all well know, no one is saying anything on this issue (even, sadly, the Liberal publications which often are even more implicated in publishing “China-bashing” articles than right-wing ones!).

    I understood possible motives of all this better, when I read Robert Sheer’s book “The Propaganda of Power” – which said that the war-mongers currently in power, have been looking for a “reason” to go to war with China (because they LOVE war, its a money-maker for them. They have all sorts of useless weapons manufactured spending trillions of dollars of government money.).

    This is horrible and scary! (and possibly true)

    Virginia

    p.s.
    I highly recommend Paul Treanor’s article on this issue: http://web.inter.nl.net/users/Paul.Treanor/HRW.html

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