05.29.11

Chicago Dan’s — Learn English from a Caucasian American

Posted in Beijing, Laowai, USA at 13:10 by

Chicago Dan’s American English Daycare put up an advertisement in my neighborhood. Sounds like a pretty nice service for Chinese kids. Especially the part about the foreign teachers being American and white.

05.13.11

Thank You, China Mobile, for Belatedly Notifying Me of Osama Bin Laden’s Death

Posted in Beijing, Internet and Media, Law and Order, Politics, Rumors, Technology, USA at 18:27 by

This SMS came in at 2:59pm on Monday, May 2:

新闻早晚报快讯:美国总统奥巴马1日表示,美军方当天对巴基斯坦一所建筑发动袭击, 打死了“基地”组织领导本·拉丹,并对其尸体进行了确认。新华社

News Alert: On May 1st, United States President Obama said that earlier in the day U.S. military forces had attacked a building in Pakistan, killing Al Qaeda leader bin Laden and confirming the identity of his corpse. Xinhua News Agency

The sender was 10658000,  also known as China Daily Mobile News, a paid service that sends daily news headlines and links to mobile users.  I don’t subscribe, but occasionally they’ll send me  particularly important updates — usually matters of obvious nationwide concern, such as natural disasters or the latest epidemic sweeping through the capital. I never received any “regular” news like this, though. It was also odd that it arrived over three hours after I had watched Obama’s speech live (or, more likely, almost live) on Chinese TV.

So, why? Here are my top four theories:

  1. China Mobile hoped to earn money by getting millions of people to forward the message to each other or call each other. But presumably that was already happening. And besides, if they sent the message to all their users, then they would be more likely to discourage a flood of text, since everyone would already know. Which brings me to my second theory:
  2. China Mobile wanted to tell everyone once and for all because the network was being overloaded with texts and calls. This is also unlikely, though; I doubt traffic could compare to the Chinese New Year peak period, where everyone sends good wishes to their family and friends.
  3. Rumors and disinformation were already spreading, and the government deemed it important enough to send out an official statement to quell those rumors.
  4. The folks at China Mobile got caught up in the Twitter-fest like everyone else and just wanted pass along the news to their (several hundred million) customers.

Of course, the correct answer is “no why” (不为什么) .

01.11.11

Guide to Stereotypical Asian Parenting

Posted in Awesome, Chinese Nationalism, Laowai, USA at 20:37 by

Reading “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior” makes one’s head spin.

The thousands of comments are even better: some expressing admiration, but most in shock that a Yale professor, or any sane person, actually believes in this sort of parenting. Instead of the Chinese patriots who overwhelm the comments sections of other China-related articles, this time we hear from Chinese-American and other Asian American grown-ups who endured this kind of childhood. Unsurprsingly, most didn’t enjoy it too much.

01.09.11

NFLchina.com Website Makes Us All Lose Face

Posted in Internet and Media, Sports, Technology, USA at 18:58 by

SHtig pointed out recently that the nflchina.com website has badly misaligned the team logos and their corresponding links. It seems that the rectangle of space for each link is slightly wider than the actual logo. As long as you’re a Bills, “Dolphines”, or Patriots fan, you won’t have a problem finding your team. After that it gets messy. SHTig’s beloved Ravens logo links to the Jets page, and you have to click on the Bengals logo to get to the Ravens page.

It’s worst for the AFC North, where most of the logos link to a division rival. Same for the Titans (link goes to Colts) and Jets (link goes to Pats).

Soon the alignment is so far off that the Packers link is the last one in the row, even though there are five logos remaining. In what is nothing short of a national (football league) humiliation, the Vikings and the entire NFC West have been pushed to the next “line” on the page, in the space marked by the red dots below. (This would have seemed fitting until the Seahawks beat the Saints just a few hours ago.)

The site has news and photos from the most recent playoff games, so surely they have someone who can tweak the site a bit. Come on, NFL: Fix your site, make America proud, and make this post irrelevant as soon as possible.

12.03.10

Wuhan Update, December 2010

Posted in Health, Law and Order, USA, Wuhan at 12:19 by

Arrived at Hankou train station this morning. The plaza and roads in front of the station are a mess, though the new facade, designed to look like old European buildings in the concession area, is an improvement over the old Social Realist look.

Spent at least half an hour in the taxi from the train station to Jianghan Lu, by far the longest that trip has ever taken. Total cost: 21 RMB.

Cheap taxi fare was the third sign I was back in Wuhan. The first was getting into the taxi, revealing to the driver that I was American, and listening to him go on and on about war, North Korea, Jews, American Indians, and the NBA. (Yes, his favorite team is the Rockets.) The second was watching two separate shouting/shoving matches between pedestrians and police during. The driver explained that in hot climates, people have hot tempers. Even in December, when its comfortably cool.

I checked into the hotel, cleaned up, and headed straight to my favorite hot and dry noodle shop, which is in an alley behind the People’s Paradise shopping center on Zhongshan Dadao. Excellent as always, as were the mianwo.

After that we walked back toward the Wanda shopping center. At one point a pigeon crapped from a ledge several floors above, missing me by inches and a fraction of a second. I thought how lucky I had been, but I would have happily endured a pigeon attack instead of what I saw next. Inside the Wanda area we noticed a few people standing around and staring at one of the shops. It was obvious something interesting had just happened. We walked closer and saw this:

It appeared that a man had raised himself up to the the glass plates, perhaps to wash them, and then fallen through. You can see a glimpse of him holding his head. The glass is well supported from below and don’t look like they’d just fall on their own accord. What appears to be a hydraulic lift is just to his left.

Here you can see part of the shattered glass that hasn’t yet fallen. (Also, the woman in front, with her skin-tight jeans, leather everything else, and thousand yard stare as she walks through the disaster area, was sign number four that I was back in Wuhan.)

This shows the that the injured man, and whoever is attending to him, are directly below the remaining section of glass. The man wasn’t exactly young, either — he looked to be in his fifties. And even though he was bleeding a bit (note the small red spot just in front of the coil of rope to his left), his most serious injuries likely came from the fall itself (during which he lost a shoe) rather than from the broken glass. He seemed dazed but somewhat conscious.

We gawked a bit with the others and were starting to walk away when we shouting. We ran back just in time to see a huge chunk of shattered glass fall down, right where he had been less than a minute earlier. The hunk of glass was probably three feet long and fell pointed side down, like a giant icicle.

This set off a panic, as the Wanda attendants realized how dangerous the situation was, and how close they had come to a real disaster. Several groups of reinforcements ran up and cordon off the danger zone and get control of the situation. Meanwhile short woman with the white hair was retelling others how she had kept telling the mall attendants to move the injured man out from under the glass.

All this before 10:30 in the morning!

08.17.10

NMA World Edition – My New Favorite News Source

Posted in Awesome, Chinese Language, Internet and Media, Technology, USA at 09:55 by

The first NMA video I saw was their reenactment of the Tiger Woods car crash. Nine months later, the Steven Slater video came out, showing a whole new level of sophistication:

The combination of the yappy, Taiwanese-accented newsreaders, the bizarre stories chosen for coverage, and the overwrought emotions on the digital “actors” is irresistible. Hire some English-speaking anchors, and NMA will surely become the next TMZ, no? I just hope they keep their subtly Chinese perspective on America’s celebrity, gossip, and entertainment news.

02.14.10

2010 NBA All-Star Weekend: BTV 6, Dwyane Wade, and the Haiti Earthquake

Posted in Beijing, Chinese Language, Internet and Media, Politics, Sports, USA at 11:19 by

I’m watching the NBA 2010 All-Star Weekend festivities right now on BTV 6, Beijing’s sports channel. (CCTV 5 would probably have this in other years, but today it’s showing the Winter Olympics.) After Steve Nash won the skills competition, Dwyane Wade stepped to center court and gave a short speech asking people to contribute to relief efforts for the Haiti earthquake. At the end he said, “And now please listen to this special message from former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.”

The broadcast immediately switched back to the BTV studio, where the three hosts babbled for about five minutes straight. I can’t imagine that the NBA didn’t allow this message to be shown in China, so I can only assume it was BTV’s decision. I haven’t found any video clips posted online yet, but I did find the website for the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, which somehow hasn’t been blocked in China. Here are some excerpts from the homepage:

On January 12, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti just outside the capital city of Port-au-Prince. The devastation – in lives lost, property destroyed, and families displaced – is immense. . .

Our immediate priority is to save lives. The critical needs in Haiti are great, but they are also simple: food, water, shelter, and first-aid supplies. The best way concerned citizens can help is to donate funds that will go directly to supplying these material needs. . .

We ask each of you to give what you can to help ensure the people of Haiti can build back stronger and better than ever.

It’s too bad the ex-Presidents haven taken such an extreme position and chosen to use such inflammatory language. I can only hope that broadcasters around the world, American ones included, followed BTV’s lead and did not let this message go out.

UPDATE: NBA China uses oblique means and stealthy feints to implant another controversial message from Dwyane “Time Delay Capsule” Wade. This time he smiles and wishes the Chinese people a happy new year — in Chinese! Disgusting.

11.20.09

We are Chinese. Love Us, and Make Us Powerful

Posted in Economy, Laowai, Manners, Politics, Religion, USA at 14:10 by

fletch-afro

ODB just passed along a great interview from the new English language edition of China’s Global Times newspaper. GT’s Lu Jingxian talks with Jack Rosen, chairman of the American Jewish Congress and American Council for World Jewry. (It’s unclear whether or not Mr. Rosen is related to the well-known Dr. Rosen in Los Angeles.)

The tone of the interview reminds me of countless conversations I have had on politics here in China. The Chinese interviewer gets right to the point with a blunt statement and question:

American Jews are known for their formidable lobbying power in the US. How is this accomplished?

I get in a Beijing taxi and tell the driver my destination. He puts the car in gear and looks at me in the rearview mirror as the car starts to move. “Which country are you from?”

“The United States.”

“You Americans love to start wars!”

GT: The AJC is a powerful political group in the US. China is also learning to build more lobbying power there. What stage are Chinese currently at? What are your suggestions?

Rosen: The primary objective of the Jewish lobby has been in keeping US values.

If you go back 40 years, the Jewish lobby was lobbying on behalf of individual rights and civil rights. And they did it for African Americans, they did it for Latin Americans, and they did it for Chinese.

Working hard for the rights of individuals is a core US value. The Jewish lobby gained that influence by lobbying on behalf of issues that 90 percent of Americans would agree with.

Then there is the issue of Israel. Why are Jewish groups so successful in lobbying for Israel? Again the American public is very supportive of the only democracy in the Middle East, the only country in the Middle East that gives equal rights and freedom to everyone. Woman have equal rights in Israel.

So it’s easy to lobby for Israel, because 90 percent of Americans believe in what you are lobbying for….

That sounds about right.

If you ask if the Chinese community has a strong lobby, I don’t believe so, because they don’t lobby for those kinds of issues. What do they lobby for? “Love us Chinese?” It’s a nice idea, but it has no substance.

We don’t say, “We are Jews, love us, and make us powerful.” We have specific issue that we fight for. And the result is we become the leadership. We are very active in government in very high positions.

Usually it’s someone over 40. I can tell at the beginning of the conversation if the question is coming or not. I can feel how bad he wants to ask it, but he doesn’t seem sure how to put it. “So….do you like China?”

A thousand thoughts pass through my mind from the last fifteen years of study, life, work, travel, and thought about China. This question will take another fifteen years to answer properly. I suspect my face is betraying panic and confusion and try to maintain a casual expression. I take the easy way out. “Ummm…Yes? Yes, sure.”

GT: For Chinese to lobby in the US, obviously we have ideological clashes. How can Chinese remove that barrier and win the hearts and minds of American public?

Rosen: You have to understand there are differences. The US people understand you have something to offer, and they accept the differences. They disagree with you publicly sometimes, but we have to find things in common.

We do have ideological differences, but they don’t matter compared with things we cooperate on. They won’t affect Chinese investment in US and US investment in China. They won’t affect economic policies, and they won’t matter where we support each other over issues of concern.

They will matter if there is an issue. Regarding Sudan, Americans care about humanitarian issues. You need to take the time, make the effort, and get the American people to understand you.

China’s position on Sudan aside, Rosen has a point. A couple of recent Global Times articles (one from September 30 and one from November 10) on Sino-Sudanese relations rely almost solely on official (and generally positive) Sudanese government statements; comments from the Chinese side, whether from the government or the reporter, are conspicuous in their absence.

GT: Inside the US, what is the general attitude of the Jewish population toward China?

Rosen: It’s a positive one. We know China has no anti-Semitism. We are always thankful of Chinese people for that and for those Chinese who saved Jews in World War II.

No anti-Semitism? Not so sure about that. At the very least there’s a tortured mix of admiration and envy — a less negative version of common Chinese attitudes toward the US and Japan.

GT: Last year, several Jewish groups in the US called for boycotting the Beijing Olympics. How should we see this?

Rosen: They probably didn’t call for boycotting Beijing Olympics because of Jewish issues, but for some other issues….

The Jewish community tends to be very liberal and they may disagree with certain issues in your country or countries you support. American people and some in the world oppose that, and some of them are Jewish.

The taxi driver again: “Why are you wearing that uniform?”

“I’m going to play soccer.”

“But you’re American!”

(neither of us knows what to say next)

GT: There are some Jewish politicians in the US who take a strong stance against China. What’s their influence on US policy toward China?

Rosen: The fact that they are Jewish is not relevant. They are politicians, American politicians, and they represent Americans. They may happen to be Jewish, and they may disagree with some Chinese issues, but connecting the two is not correct…

At this point the reporter seems to be trying hard to restrain himself from shouting, “Why don’t you Jews love us Chinese?!?”

GT: Chinese companies may meet local resistance when they try to expand in the US market. How should they work to avoid that?

I don’t think Chinese companies are particularly anticipating these problems, working through them, and doing the right public relations campaigns.

Rosen: I don’t think Chinese companies have problems in the US. Some Chinese companies have problems entering into the US market. It depends on the industrial sector they operate in. Chinese entrepreneurs are quite welcome in the US and they shouldn’t be fearful of that.

But on some sensitive business, China has to be thoughtful of what the reaction would be. They have to anticipate the reaction and work to limit the damage of that reaction.

Chinese business can’t just parachute into America. They have to anticipate the problems involved. The technology sector is probably problematic.

That’s good advice for both sides.

Bonus link 1: Here’s a “foreign view” published in the Global Times in August that discusses the lingering stereotype of the  Wealthy Jew in China.

Bonus link 2: There’s a tiny link on the Global Times article for True Xinjiang, which appears to be ssimilar in concept to the entertaining China Tibet Information Center and ChinaTaiwan.org.

11.17.09

Give Shila Dixon the Chen Liangyu treatment

Posted in Economy, Law and Order, Politics, Shanghai, USA at 14:59 by

You don’t actuallyneed to read this.  The issue is that the mayor of Baltimore used gift cards not intended for her to make purchases for herself, family and cronies.

Think about it.  The sitting mayor of Baltimore is on trial for petty theft.

Meanwhile, while American city mayors are bogging their cities down by committing criminal activities, Shanghai is emerging as world economic center.  Well, I suppose Shanghai did have its Chen Liangyu.

Here’s hoping Dixon meets the same fate.

08.14.09

Syria: U.S. Behind Riots

Posted in Politics, USA at 13:13 by

Instigators

The Middle East Media Research Institute – MEMRI reports on who the Syrians think are behind a recent disturbance in China.

In a recent article in the Syrian government daily Al-Thawra, Syrian columnist Dr. Farid Hatem Al-Shahf wrote that it was the U.S. that was instigating the rioting by the Muslim Uighur minority in Xinjiang, China. The U.S.‘s goal in doing so, he explained, was to pressure China so that it would agree to purchase U.S. government bonds and thus rescue the collapsing U.S. economy.

Another quote:

But wonder of wonders, they [the US] set up a great outcry over the Muslims of Xinjiang, who are [actually] victims of riots arranged by dubious circles in the U.S. and the West. The media, which has [always] turned a blind eye, and is still turning a blind eye, to the actions of the U.S. and its allies against Muslims all over the world, was summoned to cover the events [in Xinjiang]. It [continued to] ignore the fact that what was done and is still being done to the Muslims in China and elsewhere is clearly instigated by the U.S.

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

Close
E-mail It