Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, May 7, 2015

Back from a recent trip to China

Filed under: China — admin @ 8:06 pm

I went to Beijing on 4/16/2015 and back on 5/4, Monday morning around 2 AM, then back to office at 7 that morning. It’s been three days since I got back. As always, I still feel tired and weak now.

I didn’t sleep well yesterday. In fact, I went to bed around 10 PM and was still awake around 2 AM this morning. Something kept me awake until I couldn’t hold up. I was thinking about doing this or that, in backyard, on the computer, at the office, with my daughter, my research paper, etc. The more I piled up to my task list, harder it was for me to fall asleep. You can imagine how exhausted I was at office today.

Yes, there are plenty of things that I have in mind, that I can’t wait to get my hand into. Here’s part of my to-do list.

1. Clean the house for my daughter’s homecoming on 5/12.
2. Make appointments with eye doctor and the dentist for my daughter.
3. See Chad to open an annuity account
4. Clean the newly grown weeds in my backyard. If possible, plant some vegetables
5. Pay property tax which is soon due.
6. Get ready seriously for a research paper, plan to finish it before the end of June.
7. Go to library to check some books
8. Resume exercises and yoga.
9. Get ready the book for my daughter — change your brain before 25.
10. Keep looking for meaningful things to do so that I can retire this year.
More later

1, May 4, 2014

Trip to Beijing, April 2014

Filed under: China — admin @ 1:48 am

I left Kansas for Beijing on 4/12/2014 and arrived in Beijing on 4/14, having spent nearly 18 hours on the way.
4/12 3:48 pm departure from Kansas
5:55 pm arrival in Houston, TX
4/13 1:00 am departure from Houston
4/14 4:50 am arrival in Beijing

Back from Beijing, I departed at 3 pm on 4/29 and arrived in Houston at 3:40 pm local time on 4/29, nearly 14 hours long. I had to rush through border and luggage checks in the short transfer time as I needed to catch the transfer at 5:47 pm for Kansas. It took unusually long time for the border check at Houston airport. I was told it was a new international airport where people were not used to doing this. I got back to Kansas at 7:50 pm.

I had a wonderful time in Beijing this year for three reasons.
(1) My son came on 4/23 and left on 4/27. He went to a friend’s wedding in Hong Kong, from there to Thailand, Shanghai, Suzhou, then Beijing. It’s over 10 years when my son and I were both in Beijing. Of course, I was overjoyed to see him in Beijing.

(2) I met up with a high school, also college classmate, a good friend of mine whom I had not seen for over 30 years. To my surprise, she didn’t change much in terms of personality, the way she talks, etc. Of course, we all have aged physically.

(3) I had a great reunion with two boys of my middle and high school years for the first time since I left Tianjin in 1974. Of course, these four decades have left remarkable prints on all of us. I was too full to put into words when I saw them. One of the most handsome boys in the class has been transformed into what he himself called “a fat old man.” Actually, the other one is more so than this one. Still, we are what we used to be, though more relaxing and comfortable in our own skin. We talked, eagerly exchanging our life stories and the stories of our youth years. Like old friends, we felt nothing in between us, as if we hadn’t been separated for that long. Amazing!

1, Jun 13, 2013

The must read on the Xi-Obama Summit

Filed under: China,Politics — admin @ 12:58 am

The Xi-Obama summit held in Sunnylands, California, 6/7-8/2013 has far-reaching significance than most people care to know. It is not only the meeting between the heads of a rising and a declining world power, but also hold potential key to the peace and stability in Asia.

For more on this topic, see this article by Stephen Harner, a former US State Department official, How We Should Measure Success from the Obama-Xi Summit.

1, May 15, 2013

A trip to China this year

Filed under: China — admin @ 12:20 am

Today I will pay a visit to China, like last year, except my daughter will go with me this year. Because of this, we will need to make a trip down south to see her grandmother.

1, Mar 16, 2013

What is China’s National People’s Congress?

Filed under: China — admin @ 12:04 am

Most Americans have some vague idea about China’s political system. Honestly, I don’t think many Chinese have a clear idea on this either.

Last weekend, I talked to my mother about the twin meetings in China. I asked her if China’s National People’s Congress (NPC or quan-guo-ren-da) functions like U.S. Congress or European parliament, like establishing laws. My mother said yes.

Then, I asked her the relationship between Chinese Communist Party and National People’s Congress. She said party was still above NPC. “Does it mean party is also above the law, if it is above law-making body?” I asked her. Of course, she did not have the answer. Here’s a quote from China’s latest constitution on the function of NPC, in theory at least.

According to the 1982 Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, “All power in the People’s Republic of China belongs to the people. The organs through which the people exercise state power are the National People’s Congress and the local people’s congresses at different levels.” chpt1, article2.

1, Nov 15, 2012

Coach bags, conspicuous consumption in China

Filed under: China — admin @ 12:10 am

On 11/3, Saturday evening, we went to a friend’s house for a dinner gathering. Present were some Chinese professionals. One of them was going to China next week. She said her relatives in China asked for coach bags.

Many of them knew where people could get genuine good price coach bag. I had to admit that I had never heard of coach bag. One of the ladies showed me one through her iphone.

Honestly, I don’t see any difference between these bags and those sold at Walmart, other than the coach sign and the price difference. I learned that people would starve themselves in order to save enough money for this coach sign as it is seen as a status symbol.

Does it matter that much to have this status symbol? Is there a real status or do real status need a symbol? I have never thought of that.

1, Jul 6, 2012

Education in China, a challenge to parents in America

Filed under: China,Education — admin @ 12:48 am

On the 4th of July holiday, I read an article on BBC, “China: The world’s cleverest country?” by Sean Coughlan BBC News education correspondent.

The article talks about the remarkable achievements in education in China as demonstrated in the highly-influential Pisa tests, the Programme for International Student Assessment, held every three years by the OECD.

The test results in China showed the “resilience” of pupils to succeed despite tough backgrounds – and the “high levels of equity” between rich and poor pupils.

It also shows strong commitment and investment individually and collectively in education, “investing in its future, rather than in current consumption.”

Asked about success, “In China, more than nine out of 10 children tell you: ‘It depends on the effort I invest and I can succeed if I study hard'” instead of luck or aptitude as we often hear in Western countries.

“They take on responsibility. They can overcome obstacles and say ‘I’m the owner of my own success’, rather than blaming it on the system,” as most low performers in America do.

“Education is a field dominated by beliefs and traditions, it’s inward looking. As a system you can find all kinds of excuses and explanations for not succeeding.” “It’s a terrible thing to take away the global perspective.”

On the question about “the rising stars in Asia, Mr Schleicher says it’s a philosophical difference – expecting all pupils to make the grade, rather than a “sorting mechanism” to find a chosen few.

1, Sep 27, 2011

An Unforgettable Experience Working under a Chinese Boss

Filed under: China — admin @ 12:12 am

On the year I left Sprint, I found a job owned by a Chinese man. He started a company a decade ago, serving as the middle agent between Chinese suppliers and an American store here. The store placed an order and he searched through his friends in China for the best price. He maintained a database of goods, suppliers, price and transaction history.

This is the first time that I worked for a Chinese and in this field. He reminded me so much of the boss in China, the very unpleasant side. Still, the job sounded interesting as I saw the working of database and the amount of information that needed to be organized and analyzed.

But I did not have the chance to stay there for long because of one of his employees who back-stabbed me. He had three female employees, one Chinese, two Americans. It is this Chinese who for some reason did not like me and eventually sent me home.

However, I had a good working relationship with two American colleagues. About a year after I left, I learned from one of the Amerian colleagues that the company was ruined by the Chinese employee who drove me out.

This Chinese woman sold the company’s database to the American store, thus making it unnecessary for them to have this middle agent company to get its goods. In return, she got a management position at this American store.

This was carried out while the owner of the company was in China planning his second marriage with his young wife. The whole thing was unpredicted, devious and ugly-done.

I felt bad for the company’s owner. When he was as old as half a century, he lost his company and had to start all over for his daughter of the first marriage and the child of the second marriage.

1, Sep 24, 2011

A Forgotten School In a Remote Village in Sichuan, China

Filed under: China — admin @ 12:05 am

Early last month, a friend of mine emailed me a link to his son’s 8-day journey into a remote village in the southwestern corner of Sichuan, China, where Yi ethnic people live. As my daughter and I surfed through the pictures, both of us were appalled by the indigent scene of the school and children. Click twice to enlarge the image. I hope all of us could do something to bring some changes to their school and their lives.

More pictures

1, Aug 17, 2011

Spoiled Children as the Debtors and Workaholic Parents as the Lenders

Filed under: China,Economy — admin @ 12:08 am

The economic mess that the U.S. is enjoying now originated from (1) over consuming, under production, either in housing bubbles and credit card abuse, at individual and national level, like going to war with borrowed money; (2) Negative saving, that is deficit, again on both levels.

China is doing the opposite: (1) Under consumption, over production; (2) Over saving. Hence, China lends the surplus to the US so that US can keep importing from China, which will perpetuate the consumption in the U.S. and the running of factories in China.

Sometimes, I see China as hard-working parents who toil themselves to generate value and save them for their children (the dear Americans), while the US behaves like spoiled children who demand high-level consumption even running on empty purse. We would expect the US, with a mountain of debts, to save more and spend less and China does the opposite. It is not likely to happen this way, though. The children must be spoiled because of their dollar dominance in the world. Something will happen eventually. Let’s wait and see.

1, Jul 10, 2011

Cellphone, Technologies and Addictions

Filed under: China,Technologies — admin @ 12:23 am

This time more than ever before I observed a heavy addiction to technologies in China. Nearly everywhere from airport to groceries stores, I noticed people either chatting on cell phone or something else on computers. I had to interrupt a salesgirl’s phone chat when I needed a service. I saw the annoyance on a guy’s face when his attention was forced to switch from computer to me at stores. At home, computer was the default place for anyone thus addicted, with very good books being left collecting dusts.

I feel sort of sad as I miss the days when our lives were free from these gadgets. We like these technologies, yet, like drugs and cigarette, we let ourselves become addicted to things we like and our addiction takes control of us.

This reminds me of the fable about a fly and a drop of honey. The fly enjoys the honey so much that its wings are glued to it so that it perishes amidst the wonderful honey it enjoys.

1, Jul 9, 2011

Adaptation to the Social and Cultural Environment

Filed under: China,Friend — admin @ 12:45 am

On 7/6, Wednesday noon, I went to have lunch with three old classmates, two of them back to kindergarden days.

One is now working in the ministry of foreign affairs; the other used to be there. While listening to their conversation, I was both bored and amazed by the intricacies of power struggle and the total submission of one’s individuality when working there. The one who left could not stand it.

It seems like serving a life sentence to work in that environment. I cannot imagine myself working in that place for long. I was a rebel in my bone when I was young but more inclined to seek peace with the outside world.

If I were put in that situation and had to learn the ropes and the tricks of surviving there, I might become adapted and adept at power struggle. Are we the products of our social and cultural environment or some intrinsic value of our own? I wish people could forever keep something of their own no matter where they are, without total adaptation.

1, Jul 8, 2011

Chinese Parents Sending their Children to America

Filed under: children,China — admin @ 12:42 am

On 7/5/2011, I went with my sister and her son to the embassy of the U.S.A in Beijing, where her son would apply for a student visa.

We left home a little after 6:30 in the morning and found a long line already formed outside the embassy. It was nearly 11 by the time we headed home.

Most of the visa applicants were young students. While they were inside the embassy, their parents were waiting outside for many hours, over three hours in our case. Seeing these anxious parents, I thought of this Chinese saying.

1, Jun 15, 2011

Parents Hurt Their Children in the Name of Love

Filed under: China — admin @ 12:25 am

On 11/24/2010, the day before Thanksgiving, I had a nice chat with a young relative of mine in China. From the talk, I became once again keenly aware of some of the problems that many Chinese parents unfortunately share. That is, parents make decision for their children, especially their adult children, from college major to the children’s future job.

The direct consequence of this practice is this: the children never learn to take responsibility. Here’s a handy example, the parents of a young man decided that the man should go abroad for a few years study. Upon the completion of abroad study, it is up to the parents’ to find a job for the young man since it is initially parents’ decision.

I would think the parents have hurt their child much more than helping him. Alas, when will these parents learn to trust their children, if ever!
————————
P.S. my son’s flight back was scheduled to arrive at 11 PM Monday evening. The flight was delayed. He arrived around 1 AM Tuesday morning.

1, May 31, 2011

On Wesley Yang’s Paper Tiger Part IV

Filed under: Career,children,China — admin @ 12:06 am

Wesley Yang expresses more hatred of Chinese upbringing through the mouth of Daniel Chu, “When you grow up in a Chinese home,… you don’t talk. You shut up and listen to what your parents tell you to do.” This is a grossly overgeneralization. My daughter commented, “At our house, almost the opposite is true. It is I-talk-you-listen.”

Yang through Chu further said, “I’m trying to undo eighteen years of a Chinese upbringing.” Is Chinese family upbringing so horrible? He further challenges reader — “How do you undo eighteen years of a Chinese upbringing?” as if Chinese upbringing were so pernicious that one had to uproot it. Is he trying to instigate an uprising against Chinese family and the values it stands for?

By the way, I consider my Chinese family a normal one, in which my children sing and whistle, hop and skip as they wish. I encourage my children to seek out friendship with whoever they like, black or white or yellow. They go through normal adolescent awkwardness but survive without the “social deficiencies” or “Asian alienation” that Yang assumes all Asian-Americans must be plagued with. And I don’t consider my children’s upbringing experience an exception.

As far as I can gather, Yang is trying to purge out from his system any traumatic childhood experience from his Korean family through this writing. Safe catharsis. If that’s the case, write a personal memoir instead of projecting all the evils on AAA– All Asian Americans!

P.S. the main reason that I have reacted so strongly to Yang is I don’t want to see any people burdened with so much self-hatred. My daughter said I have been talking about the same thing over and over again. That put an end to my relentlessly chewing out of Yang’s writing.

1, May 30, 2011

On Wesley Yang’s Paper Tiger Part III

Filed under: Career,children,China — admin @ 12:53 am

In fact, Wesley Yang hates not only the mainstream Asia values but most of all, he hates his own face. I must say Yang seems to be suffering from some kind of hard-to-named mental illness. He starts his article with a derogatory self-description and with a very unflattering picture of himself, more like someone from a state jail house or more pessimistic than that.

“Sometimes I’ll glimpse my reflection in a window and feel astonished by what I see. Jet-black hair. Slanted eyes. A pancake-flat surface of yellow-and-green-toned skin. An expression that is nearly reptilian in its impassivity…” trying to tell readers, “Look, how repulsive I am…” He certainly has succeeded so far. He must have kicked his face millions of times behind the scene, which he believes deserves no better than this.

He reveals his mental illness when he says “Here is what I sometimes suspect my face signifies to other Americans: ….” I mean why do you care so much of what other Americans think about your face, as if they care to think about it? Your face is your business. Beauty or ugly is your judgment. Don’t flatter yourself as if your face ever deserved anybody’s attention.

Obviously, Yang presents an extreme case of low self-esteem, originated from his inability to accept his physical appearance, the stage that teenagers tend to go through but rarely seen among healthy adults. Of course, it is common among psychologically unhealthy adults.

He then goes on relating his feeling of estranged to that of millions of Americans as if he were not alone in finding his own image so unacceptably disgusting. Such a preposterous assumption!

Here’s what I have to say about your face: You may not be able to choose your race or racial features, but it is entirely up to you as to what facial expression you want to put on and what message your eyes and your whole face want to convey. We all like to see people showing confidence and sunshine in their faces, black or white or yellow. Look at the lovely face of Yo-yo Ma and millions of his like.
Not done yet…

1, May 29, 2011

On Wesley Yang’s Paper Tiger Part II

Filed under: Career,children,China — admin @ 12:43 am

On the value of your culture…
Yang suffers from two major crisis: identity crisis and self-image-hating crisis. He identifies himself as one of the whites but sadly he is not; he loves the physical features of the white and hates his own.

This is his personal problem. To me, the real damage is he speaks on a major magazine and talks as if he were the voice of millions of Asian Americans. Nothing is more hideous than this!

Yang knew he would be able to get it published if he could cater to the popular taste by lashing out this extremely self-disparaging piece against his own race–a popular trick. Yes, he did find his own voice by spitting on the face of his mother and all people she represents. Wonderful job!

If Yang hates Asian values so much, he has the choice of rejecting every bit of them, without having to attack these values across-the-board.

We all came from somewhere and have to move on in life from where we came from. Number one rule is: accept and acknowledge who you are and where you come from. Number two: improve and make change at wherever improvement is needed and changes can be made. To those, white or black or yellow, self-hate is a huge burden on life’s journey. It only serves a hastened self-destruction.
Not done yet…

1, May 28, 2011

On Wesley Yang’s Paper Tiger Part I

Filed under: Career,children,China — admin @ 12:38 am

I recommended to my daughter Wesley Yang’s article “Paper Tigers: What Happens to all the Asian-American Overachievers When the Test-taking Ends” May 8, 2011. After reading it, she made one comment, a rather pertinent one, “He has lots of anger.”

Exactly so. In fact, he used one single word to summarize his feelings toward Asian values on filial piety, grade-grubbing, Ivy-League mania, deference to authority, humility and hard work, harmonious relations, sacrificing for the future, and earnest, “striving middle-class servility” — that one word being an F-word. I try to understand why he chooses to use an F word here. My feeble brain fails here. Maybe he thinks it can grab global attention as Amy Chua’s book has obtained. So vulgar!

He must have been severely traumatized by these values. After going through his long writing, I still cannot figure out what is wrong with these values. Why does he hate them so much? Something not right with this writer. What is it?

Not done yet…

1, Apr 4, 2011

Confucius on Filial Piety

Filed under: China — admin @ 12:06 am


On 3/23/2011, when I talked to my mother over Skype, I asked her what she was doing. She told me she was reading newspaper on Confucian filial piety. “What did he say?” I asked.

Next she explained to me Confucius’ own words which is shaded in blue. Here’s the translation.

Ziyou asked Confucius what filial piety meant. Confucius answered, “Nowadays people understand piety piety as being able to support the parents. You can keep alive dog and horse. Yet, without a loving heart, what is the difference between keeping dog/horse and keeping parents?”

Zixia asked Confucius the same question. He answered, “It is difficult to attend to your parents’ need with a smile on your face.” That is, filial piety means you cannot serve your parents with a nasty attitude or trying to make your parents feel misery by throwing at them dirty looks, as if you were serving prison sentence instead of fulfilling your filial duties.

1, Feb 3, 2011

Happy New Year — Year of Rabbit

Filed under: China — admin @ 12:01 am

Happy year of rabbit
I have both today and yesterday off to mark Chinese Spring Festival. Mother nature has showered upon us mountains of snow since 2/1, making it the perfect time to stay home.

The only fun thing that I can think about rabbit is Beatrix Potter’s classic children’s story, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, 1902. Potter’s vivid characterization and description of Peter Rabbit earned her a place in children’s literature that no one has ever matched since her time.

To celebrate the year of rabbit, my daughter and I indulged ourselves watching Spring Festival Gala during daytime and had a marvelous time.

1, Dec 14, 2010

The Purchasing Power of the New Generation

Filed under: China — admin @ 12:15 am

During the weekend of 8/14/2010, I went to an oriental grocery store for some Chinese vegetables like lotus roots and eggplants, my daughter’s favorites. I saw some young Chinese students there. Like right out of home, they even look younger than my son.

Boy, they are rich, appearing to be a lot richer than I am. They buy like crazy. They even buy cooking utensils at the oriental store. I mean it is a lot cheaper to buy them at Wal-Mart. I seemed to see something familiar.

My mind flashed backward when I saw these young students, back to the time when I first arrived in America in 1984. Back then I was their age, totally standing financially on my own. Living on a meager scholarship, I resided in a school-subsidized apartment, acquired all cooking utensils from host-families and church charities. I had never spent a penny on stuff like this and never bought anything that was not on sale. Yet, I managed to come up with some savings in order to go back home and spent them on my family in China.

Look at these young people now. How times have changed! How China has changed!

1, Aug 8, 2010

Two Years Anniversary of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Filed under: China — admin @ 12:18 am


Nothing touches me more than the immense hospitality and friendliness of the Chinese people in extending their warm-hearted welcome to people all over the world; the eagerness to contribute and volunteer, and the scale of participation unsurpassed and unseen in any land provided a sharp contrast to the culture and custom in most western countries. We are so used to the custom of respecting and expecting privacy, keeping a polite and cold social distance so that we never offer help without being asked. We learn to keep ourselves to ourselves and to live in our isolated dwelling. To be fair, people in U.S. are friendly and ready to help if you ask, but the distance is sacredly observed and preserved. Below is what I believe is the theme song of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

The doors of our houses are widely open to friends, far and wide.
No matter where you are from, you are our guests. Make yourself at home.
Welcome back friends, old and new. We will have a lot to catch up.
The evergreen trees here have witnessed the friendship of the past.
They will see you leaving us with fond memory rooted in our rich culture and tradition.
Beijing welcomes you, providing you endless opportunities, with her boundless energy.
Beijing welcomes you to share with you all under the sun, letting you break records in our land.
Beijing welcomes you, touching you like beautiful music, providing you the chance to surpass yourself
Beijing welcomes you. You will make it in this land as long as you dream great.
Miracle will take place as long as you have the courage to pursue it.

1, Jul 2, 2010

Mao Zedong: A Reality Check 1

Filed under: China — admin @ 12:03 am

Positive view on Mao Zedong
Yesterday was the birthday of Chinese Communist Party.
My children have asked me about Mao Zedong as they have heard many exceptionally bad things about him. If he were so bad, why were there so many songs dedicated to him? I told them to read for themselves and reach a conclusion from their own readings, as opposed to listening to what others have said.

I myself have read a lot about Mao. On the positive side, I agree with an article sent by a friend. That is, those who still cherish a dear memory of Mao believe that Mao had a genuine love for his people. This reminds me of the outstanding individuals in the Civil Rights Movement of 1960s, — the “I have a Dream” speech of Martin Luther King, Jr., Rose Park, those who bravely fought for de-segregation in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Montgomery Bus Boycott in Alabama. All these ordinary people helped to move forward American society, which vividly exemplified what Mao once said, people and people alone are the true force behind the advance of human history.

1, Jun 9, 2010

Snail Dwelling and the Song of my Shabby House

Filed under: China — admin @ 12:03 am

On the first Monday of May I received a popular Chinese TV series on dvd from a friend of mine. She said I would learn something about China’s housing issue from this shows. Oh boy, it did open my eyes to much more than a housing problem in China.

Honestly, the show is depressing and the whole situation is rather foreign to me as I have resided in the States for over a quarter of a century and my family has never faced this problem before. Many issues touched in the show are beyond my humble comprehension. I simply cannot understand why people do this and that. Hence, I don’t feel qualified making any comment.

Still, I shared the show with my children together with my favorite piece below, not sure how much they can understand.

1, May 6, 2010

A Notorious Rich Second Generation

Filed under: China — admin @ 12:50 am


Last week my sister asked me if I have heard of fu er dai in China, the rich second generation. She further described how these children from newly rich families live a spectacularly useless and wasteful life; drinking and drugs, vices of all forms — contrary in every aspect to their parents’ lives.

This rich second generation children are so good at squandering wealth that they practically leave nothing for the generation following them. That’s why there is a saying that the wealth of one generation won’t go as far as the third generation.

This reveals nothing but an utter failure of the first generation parents in raising up decent children. No matter how much wealth they have amassed in their life time, they have failed as parents.

1, Apr 24, 2010

Mourning Over Earthquake Victims in Qinghai, China

Filed under: China — admin @ 12:06 am

The day before China’s plan to hold national day of mourning for quake victims last Wednesday, I sent an email to a Chinese neighbor who is active at a local Chinese church, passing to her the information on how to make donations to the quake victims via a church in Beijing. I asked her to help circulate this information among her church friends, fully expecting something out of that supposed place of love.

I was a bit disappointed when she told me that her church does not send fund “through middle agent” and she was “not feeling comfortable to pass this to our church because people usually donate to their trusted agents…if they do donate.” To be sure, the request did not come from any middle agents but from a dear friend of mine in Beijing who devotes herself full-time to church service. I was full of words but don’t know what to say to this neighbor of mine. If this is not a trusted agent, I don’t know what it is to her. What would happen if I go back to China and make such requests to Christians here on behalf of church there? Am I not considered “their trusted agent?” I used to think church-goers are open-minded, at least more than I am. I wish … There I am sharing it here.

1, Apr 23, 2010

Not Another Dustbowl, Our Planet and Our Shared Responsibility

Filed under: China — admin @ 12:10 am

Last weekend while my daughter and I took a walk in the evening, I mentioned to her some of American writers, one of whom was John Steinbeck. I talked a bit on Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. We did not talk much of his other book The Grapes of Wrath. The book reminds me of the Dust Bowl and the migration of Okies to California.

The dust storm of the 1930s in American and Canadian prairie lands was the result of severe draughts and the misuse of lands, a disastrous cooperation of man and nature. Sadly to say, we are seeing the same thing happened throughout the world, mainly the dire consequence of human abuse of mother earth. In China, we see more and more severe sandstorms caused by the combination of farmland-turned-desert, over-grazing, pollution, and deforestation. In U.S. the grassy surface is gradually replaced by the sand down beneath in Sand Hills in Nebraska, driving people out of the area like what Dustbowl did in 1930s.

It leaves me sad and kind of helpless when I reflect upon the recent Copenhagen’s Climate Change Conference, which consists of too much selfish politics by the world’s richest countries. It is true China is the manufacturer of most of the world’s light-industry products and one of the top polluters as the result. Yet, without the help from her customers world-wide, it is hard to imagine China solves her pollution problem all by herself. China could choose the path of raising the cost of manufacturing and then the cost of goods sold, so that she can shift this cost of properly disposing the industrial waste to her customers. But will the world support this? We won’t be able to see much improvement until the world leaders realize that it is our shared planet and our shared responsibility to take drastic actions.

1, Apr 21, 2010

No Prize Horse is Raised in a Stable

Filed under: China — admin @ 12:05 am


Not a few Chinese parents work like a dog all their lives, hoping to provide everything for their children, so that the youngsters will not have to go through what their parents have experienced.

Nothing can be as absurd as this parenting. No pain, no gain. Keep in mind this Chinese saying — flowers from a green house won’t last long and no winning horse can be trained in a stable. So it is true with raising a competent child. The material wealth provided to the younger generation beyond their childhood years only serve to continue their dependency on their first family and resulting in forever retaining a child mentality throughout their lives.

1, Mar 17, 2010

New College Life in China Today

Filed under: China,College — admin @ 12:18 am

One of their greatest moments in life
This was from a friend of mine regarding college students in China. I know it is not a joke even though it reads like one. I have personally known or heard similar story. That’s how they fail and how they become loafers or parasites, living off their parents. Here’s the translation.

They sleep through the whole class;
So that, throughout the night, the owls are not tired.
At school cafeteria, they never wait in line;
They won’t stop texting until they are in debt.
On smoking and gambling, they know them all;
Ten bottles of beer won’t knock them out.
They cut classes together in groups.
They never have any luck in romantic relationships.
They miss everything in exams.
Long live university!

1, Feb 14, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year! The Year Of Tiger

Filed under: China — admin @ 1:02 pm

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