The Fashion World Actually Belongs to the Sewers

November 26, 2009

On the street corner of New York, a photographer discovered a homeless guy who collects dumped boxes of top fashion brands. A set of photos turned him into an overnight sensation. Vogue, probably borrowing the idea, had an issue with super models dressed like the homeless. These news got picked up by a Chinese fashion website on which the vast majority of the articles are like educational pieces telling the ascending rich in China what is “in” in the world centers of vanity, such as New York and Paris.

The fashion world. How pathetic.


Please Don’t Hurt My Feelings

November 14, 2009

It’s funny that when it comes to issues offending the chinese government, one sentence is often tossed around: “Please don’t hurt the feelings of the chinese people.” So any foreign leader meeting Dalai or other famous dissidents is “hurting the feelings” of the chinese. Another sentence is also often tossed around: “Please don’t stand on the opposite of the people.” This one seems to be more related to the cultural revolution when the last thing you want to be in china is a labeled “enemy of the people” (while in fact, you probably are merely enemy of the government).

Putting aside the argument whether, without any poll or sufficient interviews, some statements or actions can be said to really offend a 1.4 billion group, there is another simple logic people seem to ignore. What is the assumption of these two sentences? The implied assumption is that people (the majority) are always right. Our mere 5000 years of history, however, show that for most of the time, the majority are wrong. Simple examples are if you don’t want to hurt the feelings or stand against the German people in the 1940s, all Jews should be wiped out; if you don’t want to offend the delicate beliefs of the religious Europeans in the middle ages, please say, yes, the sun is a bitch circling around the earth.

The bottom line is, for a critical mind, these two sentences have no intrinsic meaning when they are used in a brainwashing fashion either by the government or by the citizens. And in reality, they are almost always used that way.


Finally, Someone is Using the Word “Compromise”

October 20, 2009

Due to my hectic schedule, this blog is on the verge of being abandoned. To keep my post brief, here is a long waited opinion that I can’t agree more:

Fie, Fatal Flaw!


“It Makes China Look Bad”

August 23, 2009

I recently read a New York Times article about the closing down of a law office in Beijing. The lawyers, who took many sensitive civil rights cases, are facing disbarment. The article is pretty short, which you can find it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/18/world/asia/18china.html?_r=2&ref=asia It briefly talked about that on the day of the incident, 20 cops entered the law office and confiscated office equipments. It also mentions at the same time, a dozen other civil rights lawyers in China have been disbarred.

I sent this link to a friend (American) working in China. She replied, saying that the article is too “China bashing” and makes China looks extremely bad. Thinking that I might mistakenly sent the link of Amnesty International rather than NYtimes, I retracted the link and re-read the article. My conclusion is: it is a very brief and fair report; it does make China look bad, not because the tone or biased information it uses, but rather the substantive story itself indeed shows the dark side of China.

It is, of course, unthinkable in the US that the ABA can disbar lawyers just because they take certain kind of cases. But for one who takes this kind of “constitutional safeguard” for granted and travels around the world with it, one can find it hard to apply to other countries. Do we really need more examples? Here is one: the city of Guangzhou recently had a new regulation: every household is limited to only one dog; owners of more than one dog before the rule was made should find a way to dispose of one of the dogs or the cops will do it. Unthinkable? Applying a rule retroactively just like that? What about the underlying purpose of the law? Two dogs are more dangerous than one? Two blind and cripple dogs without teeth are still more dangerous than one? How about “disposing of” your own dog and choosing between which one to keep? Does this make China look bad? Then how do we report the story without making it look bad? How do we talk about the holocaust without making Hitler look bad? The mere verbatim citation to this regulation itself will unavoidably make China look like a barbaric country; there really is no need for further fabrication or defamation. If not making a country “look” bad is the essence of news report, then this is the best I can do about Tiananmen massacre if I were to report it 20 years ago. “Troops opened fire on civilians; Many killed; but come on, guys, China has great food! Look at the Great wall, how magnificent! Look at its history, it makes America look like a toddler! And things are as cheap as dirt here! Definitely one of the coolest country in the world!” Hope that balanced out the negativity in the report.

However, whether this NYtimes article did make China look bad or not is not the point of this post. What is more worrisome is the fact that China (or to be more precise, the Chinese government) has the ability of manipulating some foreign travelers’ views. Of course, It is more probable that it is not so much of the CCP’s power of manipulation that we need to worry about, but rather the human being’s tendency to forget and open for manipulation. One such example is the Olympics. For the readers from other galaxies, the humans think that this game stands for world peace. The last game was held at the very city were a massacre took place 19 years ago. You would think that by having the game there, it at least indirectly indicates that the massacre has been vindicated and people are truly celebrating peace. Unfortunately that is not the case; it is a taboo to merely mention the date of the massacre. Yet, most of the people are totally comfortable with forgetting it, merely 19 years later. I don’t know if I should say it is because the CCP is especially smart or that people are especially stupid and forgetful. By looking at the next example, I can only say that the conclusion might be the latter. My classmate went to Beijing for a summer program 2 years ago. He came back and told me how cool China is and said that maybe the Cultural Revelation wasn’t such as bad thing after all because the poor farmers in the countryside had the opportunity to come to the cities. What on Mars is he talking about? First of all, the poor farmers didn’t get to go to the cities during the cultural revolution; it’s the intellectuals in the cities who got to be sent to the countrysides! Second, really? I mean, really? A movement, which crippled a whole country for ten years during which the main thing in people’s mind was how to prove your neighbor was a capitalist and report him, not to mention the millions who lost their opportunity to education because schools were closed, can be justified by the mere possibility that some farmers got to come to the city to… do what by the way? Selling farm products on the street? That was punishable by the law! Even today you can be punished for setting up a small stand on the street and selling your stuff without a permit! My best guess is that his time in China was such as blast that he was still in hangover. However, if a smart American law student can be so easily fooled within such short period of time, there really is something the world needs to worry about.

PS: I just saw another piece of news about the officials closing an organization distributing free legal pamphlets to people living with Hepatitis B. The pamphlets contain nothing more than a know-your-rights compilation of the laws in China regarding discrimination. Does this make China look bad or should we just direct our attention whole-heartedly to each and every skyscraper it’s building and nothing else?


What’s so bad about it?

July 9, 2009

Splitting the nation is bad bad bad. That’s basically what the people in China were taught over and over ever since they were in elementary school. But if you look at all the arguments made by the government, the “badness” simply stops short of being bad. The argument is simply “it’s bad because it’s bad.” It never, for a single minute, tries to explain why it is bad. (And I just start to get tired of typing the word “bad.”) It never even bothers to point at Taiwan and say “look, that’s an example of why no one should break away from China.” In fact, it can’t find any evidence to prove that Taiwan is now worse off than if it were part of China. It also cannot argue that the Chinese culture stops to exist in Taiwan because of its break-off. In fact, many people agree that Taiwan is doing a better job than China today in terms of preserving the Chinese culture.

What’s most funny that sometimes the slogan is not “splitting the nation”, but rather “splitting the Chinese race.” Now this is just convenient. The implied assumption is that people of a same cultural or racial background should live under a single regime. Again, why? Who made such rule? Second, we need to look at the term “Chinese race.” Before we do that, we need to look at the TV animation “American Dad!” Remember it’s opening song when he sings “saluting to the American race”? That’s supposed to be a joke, because there is no such thing as “American race” especially when the nation is composed of people from all over the world. As for China, it does claim that it has 56 ethnic groups. Yet, if any of these groups want to break away or simply live life in their own way, they are “splitting the Chinese race”; only when they agree to be ruled by only one of the ethnic groups out of 56, that is Han, can they safely say they themselves are a distinctive ethnic group, and, Lo and Behold, they add diversity to this great nation or “race.” How does that logic even work? What I see, is that if you agree to behave like a slave, then you get to claim that you are free; if you want real freedom, sorry, you are harming the “greater good.”

Indeed, when someone decided to wander across the red sea and go up north and east over 20,000 years ago, they were harming the “greater good,” they were splitting the human race. Indeed, they managed to split the human race, resulting in Asians, Caucasians, and more, not to mention the different languages. And look at those bunch of traitors in Siberia who decided to walk across a layer of ice and into North America! How dare they build their own empires like Inca. And how dare the people who borrowed the Chinese language and chopped it up and created something called Japanese and Korean? They are manipulating the greater good!

But the real question is, what’s so bad about it?


A Possible Compromise?

May 23, 2009

In 1991, merely 2 years after the Tienanmen Massacre, Nancy Pelosi went to Tienanmen square and carried a banner paying tribute to those who lost their lives. Now, she is about to visit Beijing again as the speaker of the House.

At the press conference, she did not hint whether she would mention human rights during her visit. If she had the courage of flying a banner on that square when the blood was fresh, she should have the courage to carry on the fight 20 years later. Of course, to her, the fight today might be more difficult since most of the Americans care nothing more than economy, within which China is an indispensable part. Human rights is always lighter on the scale when money is on the other end. Circumventing the question about whether she will talk about human rights or not is consistent with the trend of this and the preceding administrations: the main business of America is business; human rights has become a shady business as if mentioning it would cause endless pains and sufferings.

Compromise. Or should I say appeasement? To draw a portrait called “monster,” one should not only put that monster in the frame. Those who are patting it should never be left out.


Shaking Hands with the Devil

April 21, 2009

I often watch Fox News for sheer entertainment. The commentators often times have no idea what they are talking about; their blind rage toward the current administration is pretty funny. At the same time, MSNBC makes me sick. The Rachel Maddow show is not that different from a news talk show in China or North Korea. Really, you don’t find too much critical thinking about the current administration there. What you can find is the constant comparison between this administration and the last one. The last thing this country needs is a bunch of journalists pointing out how bad the past used to be. I get it: in the past, we used to live in caves, eat raw meat (that is, if we were lucky) and mate with our own family members; that pretty much means today we are living in paradise.

Watching these channels, it really strikes me how easy these guys can sell their lies and biased opinions to the public, who often buy one side or the other. Many comments on these channels are not even based on simple facts in history or logic.

For example, Fox News made a big deal about Obama shaking hands with Chavez, saying that the president shouldn’t even bother to touch that dictator. They are arguing that since Obama is the leader of the free world, he should send a strong signal to the anti-freedom regimes that we are not your friends and we don’t deal with you. Fine. But why the hell did US even bother to negotiate with North Korea? Is that country really our ally now? How about China, whose current president, when he was serving as the CCP head of Tibet, ordered a bloody crackdown there in 1989 shortly before the Tiananmen massacre? Is he a freedom loving dude now? Hey, what about Mao Zedong who shook hands with Nixon at a time when Cultural Revolution was ongoing and US flags were still burned along with the Soviet flag? Guess what China got shortly afterwards? The UN security council seat.

The conclusion is simple: Those commentators on Fox News are hypocrites. When it’s a small evil figure like Chavez, they find it easy to attack using arguments such as what they made; when it’s a tough or rich evil, they keep a blind eye to it. Is there a better word than coward that can fit in here? I don’t like politicians and their compromises. I do believe that the US government and most importantly, the American people, should have some strong principles in foreign policy that they are willing to stick to and sacrifice for. But nothing is more dangerous than having a policy that can be easily compromised with threat of force or economic power. This is sadly the situation today; most people don’t even realize it. Fox news at least in this incident, when seemingly defending the principle of freedom or democracy, is actually intentionally or unintentionally dragging the country deeper into this dangerous situation.


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