Monthly Archives: July 2007

My Heart Rate: 114/68

I just got back from my fitness test. I’m getting into great shape. My heart rate is down to 114/68 from 123/71. I was so proud of myself I put the test on the fridge. Now if I could only lose that last 2.5kg….

J.

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It’s Getting Hot and Tempers are Flaring!

It’s been a hot and steamy week and this weekend seems to be no different. It’s not even 11 o’clock yet and I’ve already got annoyed about a small connection problem with my Internet and Winnie and I have already had a brief argument over if we should adopt a cat or a dog. I’m a cat guy (they’re soft, cuddly and know how to take care of themselves, making them great for apartments) and she’s a dog person (they’re cuter). I got her to settle on a cat, but then we had decide if we wanted a new born kitten (Winnie) or a slightly older cat (me cause I saw one that sleeps on its back like my cat at home). I think we’ve decided not to discuss the topic for now, but I think it might come to a head eventually.

To avoid any more fights today, I’ve decided to take it easy. I’m off to the gym in about 20 minutes for my final fitness test with my trainer and maybe I’ll go out for a beer with him this evening. The afternoon is going to me and one of Qiu Xiaolong’s Inspector Chen mystery novels. To keep up with that relaxing theme, here’s some interesting news from around the web:

1) Richard Spencer gives a great critic of China’s Green GDP policy here. I agree completely with Spencer, the development model is meaningless unless you find some accountability. You should also check out his entry on the China Development Bank buying Barclay’s and how this really isn’t helping the majority of Chinese.

2) It looks like someone agrees with me for more sex education in China. Especially since the Chinese are now more open to it.

3) Kaiser Kou of Digital Watch gives his opinion why Facebook won’t take off in China. When it comes to business though I have heard of some social networking sites — one in particular called Xing which has a lot of Chinese professionals on it — so I don’t know if I buy his argument entirely, but it is still worth reading.

4) And finally this video is just a tragic cry for more driver education — slow down at intersections please. That includes bicycles.

Man, I can feel my temper rising. Time to go blow off some steam.

J.

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The Growth in Popularity of Chinese Literature

This morning I was taking a peek at Danwei and I stumbling across this link to the Daily Telegraph newspaper (UK) website. It’s a pretty good rundown of some of the popular Chinese authors right now. I’ve read Jung Chang’s Mao biography, almost everything by Ma Jian as well as both of Wei Hui’s novels (but if she writes anything else I don’t know if I’ll pick it up). If you asked me to recommend two of of the authors in the article I’d have say Ma Jian and Qiu Xiaolong. If you want vacation or airplane reading definitely checkout those two. I’m really interested in reading Yan Lianke’s Serve the People It sounds interesting without being too dark or introspective.

For a view on the problems of translation, read this interview with translator Howard Goldblatt in Full Tilt. I sympathize with Goldblatt’s view that Chinese people see authors as authoritative figures in society. I think that writers can have a lot of significant things to say but if you don’t question what they write you end up cutting off debate and destroying the freedom to create, which eventually leads to really bad and really boring writing. No wonder hardly any Chinese read any more.

J.

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When Will China Switch From Preventing Sex Exposure to Sex Education?

When I read articles about parents wanting to prevent their children from watching infommercials full of sexual inneuendo I have to think it’s a case of misplaced parenting.

Yes, kids should probably be prevented from seeing those types of ads when they are quite young, but parents should also be educating children about sex, puberty and the lot. Maybe then we would see figures such as 79% of China’s high school teens getting their ideas about sex from the Internet and 50% of pregnant teens in Shanghai being impregnated by boys they met on Internet — some not even knowing the guy’s name. This is the sort of stuff you get when only 7.9% of parents teach their children any form of sex education. I understand that China still sees itself as a conservative society, but this is getting out of hand, something has to be done or we’re going to having a lot of one child families with no father and a mother who didn’t finish high school.

Equally worrying to me, is stories such as this one from today’s Shanghai Daily. I’m sure the couples mentioned in the story really love each other now, but in two or three years or when a baby arrives will they be saying the same thing? I think not. They may have good intentions behind but later they may admit this was just an attempt to get away from mom and dad or to hold onto a great feeling that they didn’t have a lot of experience with before (due to strict supervision by parents and teachers, most teenagers in China don’t really have their first relationships until university).

It might be controversial to suggest this in China, but maybe the young couples should try cohabitation first. You’re taking a risk — realizing if you get in to a fight you’ll probably be sharing a bed with that person that night — by doing it, but you learn a lot about yourself and the other person in the process. Hopefully you’ll really learn if she/he is your better half or not (In my case, Winnie certainly is) and the process should give you the maturity you need to let you know when it really is time to marry that person.

Until next time.

J.

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When Is Copying Filling A Market Need?

Digital watch had a great post this week about IPR and software  but the most interesting thing is to view the article blogger Kaiser Kou linked to. The blog is written by two Chinese who track the evolving web applications industry in Beijing. They think it’s positive that someone has launched a Chinese-version project management software even if it’s a copy of Basecamp. But the comments posted in response to their article seem to go the opposite way.

This really brings up the idea of how Chinese people view IPR, as Kaiser states in his original article, it’s not really viewed by the Chinese web community as theft more like they are filling an existing need in the Chinese community. And they are, but instead of mentioning this need to Basecamp’s development team, developers took the task on themselves and have made a little bit of money in the process. That view can be taken as a view of a lot of IPR issues in Chinese, yes a lot of people are out to make a quick buck by copying something that is already really successful in another market. But there is also a small portion that see there is something missing in the Chinese market and think that they can better meet the need than the small, medium or large-sized corporation that design the original product.

I’m not a fan of IPR infringement so I don’t want this to sound like a defense of IPR infringement, it’s just an observation.

J.

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One Funny Photo, Media Training For Cadres and The Fallout From the Cardboard Buns

With the hot summer weather blanketing Shanghai, I decided to take it easy today and stay inside. While surfing the net I found one funny image on China Hearld of a Beijing hotel mini bar menu, and read some great posts at ImageThief on the new media training for local party cadres and the fall out from the cardboard steam bun scandal.

Check them out.

J.

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New Job for China’s Migrant Workers: Virtual Gold Farmers

Virtual gold farmers that is. According to a report I read in NVR Magazine, about 100,000 workers — the majority who are from rural areas — get paid about US$0.30/hour to kill monsters and collect gold in the game World of War Craft. They then sell it to foreign game players in what is supposedly a US$1.8 million a year gray market business.

Unfortunately with success like this comes backlash. There’s a class action law suit in the US again virtual gold-selling firm IGE (not sure if this company is Chinese or not as the article didn’t say) and Youtube has a tons anti-Chinese gold farmer videos.

Is This another sign of a general ant-Chinese fever gathering in the US.

J.

Update: According to Tricia Wang at Youmeiti, there is a documentary about Chinese Gold Farmers now available.

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