(Somewhat) current events


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Since the earthquake, many friends have contacted me.  I am deeply touched by their concerns for me and my family.  Luckily, so far everyone I know is safe. 

But many others aren’t as lucky.  Death toll is approaching 20,000, thousands are still missing, survivors are homeless and in urgent need of food and water. 

Financial Times praised the government for its quick response and increased transparency.  But many Chinese citizens still have questions: Why weren’t the earthquake detected? Why is that so many buildings collapsed were schools, whereas almost none of the government buildings did? 

I don’t want to point fingers in this entry.  I just want to show you what make me proud of being a Chinese amid the disaster: Thousands lined up to donate blood; soldiers, nurses and doctors marching on foot to the epicenter with food, water and medicine; rescuers risking their own lives searching for survivors; volunteers deliver food and water from shelter to shelter…These people – not the Beijing Olympic Games – is the reason why I am proud to be Chinese. 

       

CNN is the only English channel I have at the hotel, it’s my reliable source to the outside world, as compare to the moody WiFi I pay to only be able to use in the Lobby.  Only on it’s good mood days, I get to surf the net in my room.

It has occured to me that this is the major reason why my addiction to internet is gone. 

Back to the topic.  The minute I heard the news from CNN, I picked up phone and tried to call my Mom.  Clearly the phone line got disrupted somewhat, for before I finally get to talk to my Mom, I was greeted by three different people in 2 different languages.  Now I know how easy it is to tap someone’s phone.

Luckily, my Mom is OK, only slightly scared as she put it.  My brother is at school, thrilled by the experience and may have got a perfect opportunity to comfort the girl he really likes.  My Dad is on a business trip outside Sichuan, I hope he is OK.  Don’t want to sound cold-hearted, but both me and my Mom couldn’t reach him by phone.  Of course, we will continue to try to contact him. 

Now if you would excuse me, I have to go up to my apartment and watch CNN.   

I did not quite know how to react  upon reading this New York Times article.  Is this a progress or are we back to the era of Red Guards?  Hard to say.

It does sound like a good idea, upon first hearing it.  Excessive drinking at Chinese banquets is no news.  Accidents caused by drunk driving never decline, despite measures taken by authorities.  And I have a vague idea why this is the case.  My friend owns a bar in Chengdu, every night the customers drive to the bar to get their daily dose of booze, and drive back half drunk.  I asked why the traffic police didn’t line up outside the bar and fine the living crap out those drunkards.  (Pardon my language, I hate drunk drivers.)  “Well,” he told me, “Because I paid them for not coming.” 

I wonder how effective this Booze Squad can be in long term, simply because I am not sure how long Mr. Li could weather the pressure and power play.  How long would the senior officials take him seriously and comply to the rules?  How long till they dig up some dirt of Mr.Li’s?  I guess the most important question is: how powerful the officials who are backing up Mr.Li.  Yes, I am afraid the rule of people is by large still the norm in China.  

But then this other question pops out: is this a violation of personal privacy?  However wrong it is to drink during working hour, is Big Brother approuach the only solution?       

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Ping Pang has become what basketball is to African Americans athletes for Chinese players, especially those born in the mainland.  It’s their social and economic ladder, it’s their passport to the world.  

“At last year’s women’s World Cup in Chengdu , 13 of the 16 players competing were Chinese, representing the mainland, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Netherlands, Australia, Austria, the United States, the Dominican Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At the current World Championships in Guangzhou, 19 of the 48 teams featured mainland-born players,” reported South China Morning Post.   

But now The International Table Tennis Federation is banning those who switched countries from major events they organize.  Their rationale obvious: to keep the top players in their origin countries, and make sure they think twice before switching countries.  Hmmm, I wonder which country would benefit the most from this?  Which country has the most talented players? 

When the world (China particularly) seems increasingly embracing the idea of free market which entails the free flow of people, capital and goods, you hear news like this and couldn’t help but wondering: “huh?”     

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Ms. Dowd is a New York Times Op-Ed columnist.  She has been writing about the White House and its occupants since the Regan era. 

Mrs. Clinton is a democratic contender for the top job.  She has been losing voters since her brainy husband invited himself to the race.  Clearly, he doesn’t want to be remembered as The First ‘First Husband’.  “Not cool.  What would Monica think of me then?”

Ms. Dowd’s here to offer some advice: “Sunny beats gloomy. Consistency beats flipping. Bedazzling beats begrudging. Confidence beats whining.”  That’s also a great advice for us all.  Life is full of politics, don’t you agree?

Coincidentally, I am reading Ms. Dowd’s new book “Are Men Necessary?”.  Not surprisingly, she understands politics between the sexes very well.  From feminist to sexist, from Barbie to Sex and the City, from Cosmo girl to Playboy, she’s seen it all.  Sexual realities and absurdities elegantly discussed in that biting, provocative, hilarious tone of hers.  She has easily made Oscar Wilde the ladies’ man by referencing him every other page.  (Clearly, dear Oscar knew a thing or two about hetero relationship.)

I think I’ve just found myself another Art Buchwald.       

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Queen Street West was one of my favorite hang out places when I was in Toronto. 

On a sunny summer day, a walk along it would make a perfect day.  It has everything one can possibly need: bookstore (Pages is my favorite independent bookstore), cafe shops (no, not just Starbucks), record store (great second hand selections!), movie theatre, restaurants with food from every corner of the world…Don’t worry about finding the perfect piece of cloth to cover yourself up – every strand of fashion trend meets here.  Punk, mod, Gothic, designer, you name it.  OK, commercial time over.  But if I were a muslin, Queen Street West would be my Mecca.

It saddens me to see Queen Street West like this.  But I believe the spirit of people living there will make it an even greater place. 

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