Christmas Eve in New York

I didn't went out into the city. I spend the whole day at home, readjusting myself after a crazy, funny week.

I send out some emails. And as I looked back on my first four months here, I suddenly feel a strong wave of gratitude. I've been very lucky to be in a cool college, study with great professors, going to classes and go in and out of Saga with good friends... and today when I called my host family, I got my Canadian Visa eventually.

This is a very nice start, and I'm having a great time everyday.

OK, a couple of friends came in, so no more mood for meditation and confession =)


Zilong in New York 12/23/09

OK, where shal"l I start.

I'm now sitting in Time Square and using the free Wi-Fi. A hour later I will go watch my fourth Broadway Show "FELA. Yesterday I went to see a live comedy for three hours. It was pretty dirty, erotic and racist. Anyway, this is also a part of the culture, very revealing and interesting.

Today I spend a couple of hours in the Museum of Modern Art. I was equally confused as before. Some doors just remain closed for me.

However, the visit to the Rockefeller Center is great. I went on to the top of the building, twice, once in the day, once at night. Both views are breathtaking. The art work in the Rockefeller Center is very different. They are very powerful and global, giving people a feeling of "I came, I saw and I conquered." Looking at these art works, I gained a better understanding of the inner world of those elites who are building the New World Order. In a sense, they are not normal human. They are standing at a different height.

The schedule for these days are pretty crazy, and I don't really know how much money I've spent, but I'm within control and need no bail-out from my parents.

We are like little boats sailing in the sea of dream and reality, greed and fear. When the world around us goes crazy, we have a stronger need for an anchor. Religion, love, work, whatever. I'm still in the process of building and strengthening my own anchor. Otherwise, we will lose ourselves in the sea of the world, and the waves of desire will break us into pieces.


Zilong in New York 12/20/09

I just came back from my second Broadway Musical "Mama Mia". It is crazy, and the audience went crazy, too. Yesterday I went to the musical "Memphis", very different from Mama Mia, but equally cool.

These two musicals has been the highlight of the day! And thanks to the "Student Rush Tickets", I can go to these world class shows with 1/4 of the original price.

Speaking a foreign language is a blessing. I made many friends these days because of German language. I heard them speaking German to each other, so I just went up and join them. A few minutes later we start to exchange emails and so on.

I've been to both Columbia University and New York University these days. They are very different. Columbia University is like a exhibition of architecture. It's amazing. Living in such an environment definitely makes people instantly smarter =)

NYU is right in the middle of the city, therefore has no real campus. I wouldn't be able to concentrate on my academics in such an urban environment.

I really want to write more, but so many things has happened, and so many things are going to happen. It will take a whole night to write about what happened in the day. Hope you all are having a great and warm holiday!


Going to New York City

My friends here leave for home one after another. It made me a bit lost for a while, but when I think about the journeys ahead of me, I feel alive again.

New York City is one of the greatest cities in the world. I will spend more than half a month in this amazing city, visiting the financial district, museums, universities, some China-related institutions and several Zen centers, and much more. I don't yet have a clear plan. Let's surprise!


Rust and Dust & Hampshire

I just came back from the show "Rust and Dust". I really liked it. I don't know too much about theater, but I really enjoyed the devotion and passion of the students!

Hampshire offers a very good platform for people to carry out and try out their ideas. The opportunities are everywhere for everybody. It just take some effort to get it. I appreciate this.

There are problems everywhere. I've heard students saying Hampshire is becoming a bit like a place where people are different in the same way, and different differences are not welcomed. But I think Hampshire is still too young to have prejudice, and Hampshire will keep changing. That's why we are here.



It's Thursday night. I have no classes for tomorrow, so I want to relax a bit and watch something interesting. I remembered a friend told me about the film: Zeitgeist. Something like conspiracy theory. I though that might be fun, and I watched it. (On Google Video: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-594683847743189197#)

I am not relaxed after watching it. Not at all. I know that explaining things with the label of "Conspiracy Theory" is a lazy way of discovering the truth. But the fact and details unveiled by this film is too powerful and strong, especially the part on 9.11. I believe "Zeitgeist" is much closer to the truth than the official explanation.

At the same time, I feel very confused. I can't understand why those "elites" are doing all these things. I can't understand their motivation of building a world government, making that much money or controlling the world. And I think they are never going to succeed because this kind of super power is just not suitable for any group of human. This super power will destroy anyone who try to get it.

In comparison to US, Chinese government may lack transparency. But everyone knows the logic, desire and purpose of the Party and high officials. So people understand and tolerate, to some extend, the corruptions because we are all human being. But what was revealed in the "Zeitgeist" movie, it's just crazy and impossible for normal people to comprehend: why they are doing this? what for? Where do they want to go?

I'm still too far away from the truth.


Thumbs-up for Emma Watson

I am doing case study on the commercial success of Harry Potter, and the actress of Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) caught my attention for a while.

Miss Watson is a good actress. She is pretty and smart. What differentiate her from most of the other young actresses is her personality, intelligence and maturity.

She maintained very impressive academic performance ("in the A category") while shooting all the films. She is now a first year at Brown University.

She showed great maturity, balance and self-control as a young, rich, world-famous, successful actress. She is not wasting her gift.

I think she has got almost everything a girl could ever dream of, though I am not professional on girls' dream. Emma Watson has earned money and fame and very unique experience at such a young age. She is beautiful and smart and interesting.

We are glad that she is using her "endowment" very well and is having a "sustainable development". Too often is the case that young stars lose control in front of the crazy world and get drowned their own success.

One interview indicated that Watson said she is "a bit of feminist". Outstanding girls are always a bit of feminist.

I believe feminism should never exist. There is feminism because there are too many arrogant and ignorant men. It's actually a pity, and men should do some self reflections.


China & Intellectual Property Rights

China has a bad record on intellectual property rights (IPRs) protection. I have to confess that I am still "benefiting" from the free download of some teenager Hollywood films, but there is a deeper history in the intellectual property stuff.

The lack of protection for IPRs in China has a historic reason. The notion of property rights is a very new thing for Chinese society. In the past, for at least five thousand years, the emperor owns everything under the heaven. The emperor even owns the life of his people.

So the concept of property rights began to take root in people's mind in recent decades, and IPRs are even newer.

The four great inventions in ancient China has made huge contribution to the world civilizations. They are the compass, black powder, paper making and type printing. China didn't not ask for money for the usage of any of these invention, which is quite a big commercial loss from the capitalist perspective.

In the past, Chinese intellects produce all intellectual products to make social changes and express themselves. Poets encourage everyone to copy their poems and writings so that his work will be passed on through generations. In Chinese culture, money is always considered inferior and less important to spiritual and intellectual activities. This is no more true today, of course.

In comparison, western society is based on capital and money. The purpose of production is to make profit. When the guideline is different, policies and attitudes are also different.

Now the western rules are dominating, so China need to find out a middle way and proper strategy to join the big global game.


Hamshire College Faculty/Student ratio is 8/1

I went to a "Academic Check-In" organized by Cultural Center for multicultural student, and it turned out that I was the only student there. On the other side, there are eight teachers.

This is the advantage of Hampshire. You get a lot of personal attention, which is evident in the faculty/student ratio: 8/1.


Fashion and consumerism

I remembered from the book “Gone with the Wind” that during the blockade, Rhett Butler was the source of fashion information from the outside world for the girls and women in Atlanta. People believe in what Captain Butler described, and they dressed up according to it.

So I thought at that time that fashion is really a result of the psychology of group perception. Rhett Butler could have told something wrong to make the Atlanta women look ridiculous. But the thing is, even if the information is wrong, when the majority of people believe that certain clothes is fashionable, everyone in that society has to follow that code if they don’t want to look stupid. And some of the fashions do look stupid!

And fashion keeps changing all the time. Therefore, we are forced to invest money to buy new clothes before our old clothes are worn out.

I look upon this phenomenon as a shrewd marketing strategy. Here’s why. The demand for clothes is not limitless. If people buy clothes only to keep warm and not to be naked, the fashion industry won’t be able to make a lot of money. Therefore, the industry needs new means to generate demand. So all kinds of fashion magazines and big fashion shows around the world start to send out a message to the public: “See, you are out of date again! Go and buy this new style.” When the new fashion is being accepted by the public, it would be really hard for us human not to follow the trend and make ourselves feel safer in the crowd.

By unceasingly creating new fashion, the whole industry is making much tons of profit. But we often notice that the fashion is turning around in a cycle. The out-of-date products from thirty years ago are taking the lead again in this year’s fashion show. That is because the industry is running out of new ideas. Creating new fashion is adding new cost to the fashion industry, therefore the most economic way is to pick out some old clothes from the garage and make it fashionable again.

It is important to notice that the distribution of profit in fashion industry is quite similar to all cultural production. Those who make the most money are designers, models and their agents, event organizer, publications (fashion magazine), big brands that creates fashion and so on. Factories that really make the product are at the bottom of the industry chain. Most of them are in China. They are not making a lot of money. They are making pollutions.

There seems to be no problem in this system. Normal people have fun, people in the fashion industry get rich and famous. In the end, we love beautiful things, and we enjoy shopping. But one negative effect is that this way of consumption is creating huge waste and unhealthy values like extravagance, flamboyance and materialism. Some of the values are even totally sick. For example, a few years ago, some models starved themselves to death because they want to be skinny, which was the “fashion” at that time.


NBA - Hollywood

NBA is like a successful Hollywood story. They produce super stars. They make script and uses media to arouse the expectation. They take every chance to make stories, make products and make money, which is great.

David Stern made NBA international and generated billions of revenue from his global strategy. Just look at Yao Ming, he has opened a 1.3 billion people market. But David Stern has invested in Chinese market for more than 1o years before NBA starts to make any money. He send free copies of NBA shows to China, and broadcast NBA in China for free since last century. And all these NBA expansions are based on Win-Win situations, which created a new market out of nothing, making several millionaires per year. Nobody would rejects such ideas. No one is being harmed. Everyone just has got either a lot of fun or a lot of money.

Stories like NBA and Harry Potter are so inspiring. They are making miracles. There will definitely be more and more stories like this, and most of them will happen in emerging economies. Material and physical demand won't expand forever and fast enough. But there will be no limit for cultural and media industry because new demand are constantly being created.

One possible negative influence is that all these commercial success don't have a deep culture and humanity core. And humanity and the right values are what we urgently need to establish. Maybe we can use the same business strategy to promote worldwide cultural exchange and build branches of Confucius Institutes.

Why I only buy Lenovo

I didn't spend a long time choosing a laptop, a machine that is going to be my close companion for at least my four years in US college, because I know that I will buy a Lenovo.

Lenovo is one of the most well-known, successful and reliable Made-in-China product on the international market. I am happy and confident to carry this Chinese product with me to the rest of the world.

Lenovo was established in 1984 in Beijing, China. Now a multinational PC maker, Lenovo has acquired the Personal Computer Division from IBM in 2005. Lenovo pays great attention to innovation and social responsibilities, which is also setting a role model for many other Chinese companies. Lenovo is the pride, and it is definitely not the only one. There will definitely be more and more Chinese companies and brands emerging in the global market, creating value for the whole world.


I love writing diary everyday

I write diary everyday. My parents helped me establish this good habit, and I have been benefiting from it for twelve years. This is a part of my life, and I have found it especially important when things are happening at such a rapid rate these days.

As soon as we wake up in the morning, there are all kinds of tasks that we have to deal with. We spend time on school, extracurricular, social life, money and so on, and we give so little attention to our soul and mind and real learning experience.

I need at least twenty minutes at the end of everyday to calm down and think about my day. What have I done? What have I learned? What is wrong and what is cool? How can I do it better tomorrow?

I found that when I start to write things down, my understanding will go into a deeper level. If I just experience without thinking and writing, I am wasting this precious chance of real learning.

What's more, writing diary also helps me to not to forget my Chinese =)

Blog is a very different thing. Blog is more like a show, a marketing strategy, a good way to publicize yourself and make your voice heard. Blog is too connected with the rest of the world. In comparison, diary is personal and intimate. So I can be very honest, though it can be painful sometimes =)


I love my life at Hampshire College

Yes, Saga food is not that good, but the people there are fabulous! You know Roberta. And the people at Post office and House Office and XX office, they are so lovely and helpful.

The professors are really our friends. I really treasure this quality.

And I love to go to Ficom. It is just so entertaining and I learn a lot of things.

Almost everything is free. There's money running around, all you need to do is dig it out.

OPRA is amazing! Just talk to the people there, and you will love them.

I'm working for Spiritual Life Office. I almost think that I should pay them instead of being paid because I enjoy working there.

My hall in Dakin is cool and quite (not always, honestly, Ha!) and very friendly, which is great. And we have single rooms. What else can I ask for?

The Chinese students here are like a big family. I am very grateful.


Thank you all, my friends!


Harry Potter: an industrial and marketing legend

Harry Potter might be forgotten as a children fantasy literature in several years, but the industrial success of Harry Potter will always be remembered and revisited.

I just watched the Chinese Program "Dao of Business (Shang Dao)". They made a brilliant series examine the success and imagination of Harry Potter success, looking at marketing, publishing, film making, star making, franchise operations, toys, theme parks... This list can go on forever. The whole industrial chain is creating a value of more than $200 billion! And more than 70% profit is made outside the film and books.

This is just so amazing. I can't help admiring the creativity and energy. Capitalism is not all bad.

The whole story is full of contingency. But when we look at the industrial chain behind the Harry Potter books, it is very clear that there will must be a legend like this happening, whether or not it is Harry Potter or Peter Henry or something else.

The success of Harry Potter is a wonderful case study for almost all industries.

Culture: To please the American readers, the publisher changed the name of "HP and Philosopher's stone" into "Sorcerer's stone", and made the author's name appear as JK Rowling in order not to let people know the book is from a female writer (but this become unnecessary when JK Rowling becomes a legend herself and added to the popularity of the book).

Marketing: the publisher spent millions of dollar to promote the book even before the book is in the book store. They repackaged JK Rowling according to her personality and fully used Rowling's Cinderella story. The publisher hired writer all over the nation to write reviews on Harry Potter, making the book appear not just as a children's book, but has all the quality to become popular before it reaches the market. The publisher went on to lead the New York Times and Boston Globe to highly recommend the book.

Time Warner: Time Warner is the biggest winner as well as the ultimate designer behind the show, profiting from Harry Potter more than $6billion. They are just impossible. They formed a 3D, worldwide alliance to promote the book. Coca Cola, Lego, Disney, Universal Studio, famous people... They used all means to create expectation and all kinds of headline. Each position in the film can be a new headline. They not only succeed in keeping the topic hot; they made it hotter and hotter every time they appear in the news. They changed director for the film frequently, made the content of new books more confidential than national secrets, they choose actors for Harry Potter as 60,000 children applied. They just made it an phenomenon! Then they cooperated with all industries and corporation, made toys, paper games and build theme park!

What's more, they are not harming anyone's interests. Unlike those financial institutions who screw everyone else up, Harry Potter legend just created a huge market and wealth out of nothing, creating tens of world level stars, new jobs, endless market. And this is benefiting almost anybody. This is real magic!

Now, China is going to learn from it.


Your TV: Killer or Teacher?

Today’s New York Times has a small article on the Business section, saying that kids from 2-5 year old watch on average 25 hours of TV per week, plus 7 extra hours of DVDs, computer games and so on.

Last year when I was in Germany, my host family told me that a German adult watch on average 3 hours of TV per day. I just can’t understand how a human could spend a third of his day time in from of a TV set. I am always shocked when I hear these figures. And I feel very worried.

The influence is very profound. We are what we see and hear. Our behavior is heavily influenced by our surrounding. Most TV programs are full of violence and sex. Therefore it is not hard to understand the high violence rate and more and more frequent serious crime. When crime and sex become the psychological and biological pattern in our mind and body, our world becomes passive and dirty. And this pattern is strengthened every day and night by media.

Someone said: maybe next time when we take a family picture, we should put our TV set in the picture, too. Many people spend more time with their TV than with their family. They don’t smile to their friends, but laugh wildly with TV shows.

Each TV is a teacher in the household. There are millions of TV teachers around the nation, but they don’t teach good things. Sometimes I really hope that all TV channels will broadcast one hour of Buddhist master’s teaching per day to purify people soul.

There’s a famous experience conducted by a Japanese scientist. He proved that water is influenced by human thoughts. When we give the water a blessing of love and hope and then put the water into a fridge, the water crystal is extremely beautiful. But when we think about killing and hate, the crystal will be very ugly.

If this is what thought can do to water, imagine what thoughts can do to us, considering that human body are 80% water.

Media can be the most powerful tool to change this sad situation. But most media is driven by profit, not happiness or quality of life. If this equation can not be broken, human will suffer longer in the trap he himself made. Maybe my career will eventually focus on combining economic incentive with doing good things, creating a good mechanism that real virtues are rewarded, building a moral media while maintaining good income. Let’s wait and see.


Down the Rabbit Hole

I heard about this movie from the Reike practitioner at Amherst. Just watched it online, and I would recommend it to everyone.

You can watch the whole movie on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=B13F881195866370

The film uses quantum physics to explore the our perception of the world, very revealing.

I believe everybody will benefit from the film and start to make changes. But how long will it last? We are too full of ourselves, and the physical senses are so powerful that it blinds us most of the time. Being sober is hard. We need strong self control to really find our real self.

Some young people are living for their image in the mirror or other people's view. They leave no time for their spirit and mind, and don't identify what is good and what is bad. For example, saying dirty words seem to be a cool thing for many students.

We should not live in a "Stimulus-Reaction" sort of life. The world is how we look at it. We are creating our world in our mind. Start constructing your own beautiful world.


Manifest Destiny: a bloody hypocrisy

The phrase “Manifest Destiny” first caught people’s attention in 1845. It was filled with a sense of mission, expansion and self-importance. The idea has a much longer history, dating back to mid 17th century: “For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us.”

This idea has been accepted as ethical, apparent and inexorable, a mission for the chosen American people. It has always been the force (and excuse) behind US expansion and fueling nationalism and global conquest.

Indian Removal
The first generation of settlers survived because of the generous help of Native Americans. People would suppose that the Thanks Giving is not only dedicated to God. A little bit of the gratitude should go to the native Indians.

Hundred years later, after the War of 1812, US economy flourished, population soared (US population grew by ten million in 25 year between 1820 and 1845) and the acquisition of land double the size of the country. The westward movement started. People of all back grounds and status marched across the Appalachian, poured into Ohio and Mississippi River valley. By 1850, more than two thirds of American population lived west of the Appalachian.

The federal government reflected the nationalist outlook by giving western land to private hands and non-Indian people. Some of the public land was even granted as a reward for military service. For example, veterans of the War of 1812 received 160 acres. Private credit system rose every where, providing people with abundant credit to make purchase.

Even though Native Americans has been living on the those lands for thousands of years, the land "belonged" to the Christian white man due to a "divine mandate" and "superior civilization." US Constitution says that the government should deal with Native Americans following international protocols. But in fact American government use treaty making as a way to acquire Indian land. In “A People and a Nation”, the book briefly mentioned that “Whether through arms or economic pressure, the federal government forced Native Americans to sign and relinquish treaties.” Who could ever tell how many misery and tears were behind these “arms and economic pressure”.

Indians tried to integrate into the market economy and adapt, but their total removal is destined to come. Americans started with assimilation, enrolling Indian students into schools, teach them English alongside the Christian Gospel. But then Americans found this kind of simulation take too long time. Indian removal was soon turned into an “honorable” federal policy.

Resistance was no use. Indians were forced to go on to the “Trail of Tears”. How many people have died, we will never know, and no one seem to be interested. The winner writes the history. But the echoes of pain will remain on this piece of land.

War with Mexico
The War with Mexico is another great illustration of how the manifest destiny served the political interests and the need of expansion. The U.S. population grew from more than five million in 1800 to more than 23 million by 1850. Thus, there was a need to expand into new territories to accommodate this rapid growth. President Polk lusted for California and huge amount of territory. And by building West Coast ports, maritime merchants can expand and promote new commerce and increased trade with countries in the Pacific. After a series of carefully planed activities, US army crossed the contested boarder and raised the conflict. Polk then drafted a biased message to the Congress and hid many crucial facts. People don’t know what’s going on, but pushed by the holy idea of manifest destiny and aroused by nationalism and sensationalist media, the whole country went into war. Some Eastern Democrats even argued that bringing Mexico into the Union was the best way to ensure future peace in the region.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo brought huge amount of precious land under American territory. Those Mexican citizens living on those lands were then victim of institutionalized racism.

Manifest destiny played a remarkably role to fuel the expansionist spirit, a fulfillment of Anglo-Saxon-Christian destiny to expand and possess the continent and spread the civilization. Racism was also obvious in public opinion, as one Illinois newspaper claimed that Mexicans were “reptiles in the path of progressive democracy”.

In comparison to Nazi
I go through the materials of “Manifest Destiny” with confusion and indignation. I can’t help comparing this idea to Nazi theory, and I find more similarity than difference. For example, in his book, Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler detailed his belief that the German people needed Lebensraum (living space) for a Großdeutschland, land, and raw materials – and that it should be taken in the East. It was the stated policy of the Nazis to kill, deport, Germanize or enslave the Polish, Russian and other Slavic populations, and to repopulate the land with racially pure Germanic peoples. How surprisingly similar this is to the US policies towards native Indians!

Both Nazi theory and Manifest Destiny boost racism and cultural superiority (Japan once also believed that its people have the finest blood in the world). Both of them have created all kind of ideas to justify their crimes and arouse people’s nationalist emotion. Normal people blindly and happily joined the crusade of murder. Both ideologies direct the nations to gain the global hegemony, create super empires, make wars, gain resources and land and kill people. They both believe that they are doing the right, good and sacred things, but they are actually creating huge misery for man kind.

Of course, the main difference is that Germany lost the war, and America thrived. Winners write history. I’m quite sure if Germany wins the war, the history will be written in a very different way, and America’s Manifest Destiny will be the evil story and be pictured as a bloody hypocrisy, which is also true, to some extend.

Manifest Destiny is not always bad. At the beginning of American history, it has helped American people fight for freedom and build their own country. President Abraham Lincoln's described the United States as "the last, best hope of Earth". President Wilson also said in 1920 after the World War I: “This is the time of all others when Democracy should prove its purity and its spiritual power to prevail. It is surely the manifest destiny of the United States to lead in the attempt to make this spirit prevail.” It was true for a while, but certainly not always.

As the country grows, the negative side of this idea begins to show. This idea has helped to create wars and miseries in both America and the rest of the world, mainly in the rest of the world. God’s authorization to America is due.

American Foreign Policies
US foreign policy has been greatly influenced by the theory of Manifest Destiny, though it means different things to different people. US leaders talked about global “leadership and partnership”, viewing the US as the absolute, God-chosen superpower and leader of world affairs. US push double standards and unilateralism, take the role of international police and interfere frequently with other countries’ domestic affairs.

Bush said to American people in his 2005 inaugural address: “The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.”

In fact, the Manifest Destiny has sometimes become a weapon, a weapon of Mass Destruction instead of Manifest Destiny. This weapon has been proven to be very effective, especially during the Bush administration. Public emotion can always be easily aroused and people’s approval gained when the government starts to talk about saving the world, fighting the evil forces, liberating the people under authoritarian control and so on. US-Iraq War is the best illustration.

Similarly, the US government love to talk about human right when they themselves are among the most notorious violator of human rights. They use human rights as a powerful diplomatic tool to make influence on other countries. For example, America blames Chinese activities in Sudan while America itself is supporting a medieval monarch in Saudi Arabia. This behavior is having an extremely bad effect, hurting its international image, destroying the government’s credit and making Americans’ presence in the world less and less favorable.

US has the tradition of putting itself on a higher moral ground than other countries and teach other what to do as if God himself has authorized US to be his representative on earth. US believe that America’s system is the best system ever in human history, therefore should be planted in all other countries. This may have something to do with the aggressiveness of Christianity. In comparison, Buddhism, Confucius and other eastern philosophy have never had such self-importance and aggressiveness/expansionism.

What exactly it is
In the reading “Race, Manifest Destiny, and the US War with Mexico”, the author said that “In the 1840s, the US pursuit of western territory was inspired by the idea of manifest destiny…” But actually, US is driven by the greed to acquire land and then coined and promoted such ideas like Manifest Destiny. Worse more, they are taking advantage of God. They claimed that these words come out of the mouth of God, and therefore their expansion/invasion is holy and can be justified. Normal people tend to believe what the media and government says, and they love to be inspired.

It is not that people heard the call of god and then started the expansion. The truth is, people feel the need of expansion, and then create all kinds of ideas to justify and glorify their greed. The Manifest Destiny is created to serve people’s interests and need.

The Bible was created thousand years before the birth of USA. All the theories of the divine destiny of America are created by certain people on certain purposes, driven by greed and self-interests. All the ideas are illusion and lies. They choose to believe in something even though they know it is not true, and it is extremely easy to get lost in lies when millions of people lie together to themselves.

I’m definitely not the first one to raise such argument. In fact, as soon as Manifest Destiny was coined, Representative Robert Winthrop ridiculed the concept in Congress, saying "I suppose the right of a manifest destiny to spread will not be admitted to exist in any nation except the universal Yankee nation." A lot of other people criticize the advocate of Manifest Destiny that they were citing "Divine Providence" for justification of actions that were motivated by chauvinism and self-interest. Despite this criticism, expansionists embraced the phrase and “inspired” the whole country.

O'Sullivan used this term when he argued that the United States had the right to claim "the whole of Oregon". This phrase has since then accompanied American history, influenced American thoughts and generated all kinds of policies. All these policies are not always compatible because nobody can say what exactly the manifest destiny is. This vagueness has created great convenience for policy makers. Politicians can take full advantage of this exciting slogan and make people believe they are doing what God want from them. I wonder whether God, looking down from heaven upon us, is crying or laughing.

American people love to believe in the Manifest Destiny because it gives them a sense of self-righteousness and provide them with national pride and confidence, as well as arrogance and superiority. The idea was prevailing because of the unmatched US power. But we also need to identify between normal American people and the government’s policy. In many situations, normal American citizens are also victims of the government’s desire for expansion and new world order.

Today’s world is different. US no longer enjoy the absolute superpower. People are tired of US Washington’s bossy manner and no one believes America is spreading peace and democracy around the globe. The ideas of superiority and exceptionalism are no more acceptable. The ideology of racial and cultural superiority is against the will of global citizens. The Manifest Destiny no longer belongs to America. Its trademark belongs to the whole world.

Applying for a credit card as non-US citizen

I just got my credit card today from Bank of America.

The only reason that I apply is that I want to build up my credit record. Living in US, a good credit record will make things much easier. Especially in the future when I start my own business or deal more frequently with banks and financial institutions.

I've learned something interesting. There are three agencies evaluating my spending habit and so on to decide my credit. All banks will report my information to these three agencies, and according to a highly confidential formula, the agencies will give me a score. If I have a score above 700, then I will be fine everywhere.

This credit information is linked to my Social Security. It is very convenient, but also a bit scary. I have to be very careful, otherwise the bad record is going to accompany me for the rest of my life. Feels like the big brother is watching me.

Another thing is that I can get a better credit record if I have two credit card from two different banks, and keep paying my bills on time.

It is funny that the only way for me to prove that I am responsible and credible is to borrow money from banks. This system is encouraging living on debts, which is definitely not my favorite culture.

As a customer, I have to say Bank of America is a good bank. People working there are kind and professional. But as an individual, it is too hard to deal with banks. They are too good at calculation. I can't understand most of the words on the contract. I have to be extremely vigilant and ask them several times to find out if a service is really free, or it's just free for a week.

Well, let's create some alternatives =)


China-US Millitary & More Than Made-in-China

If you ask a Chinese to use one work to describe the current Chinese policies, domestic and international, I think most people will give you the answer: harmony.

Harmony is the most frequently used word in state media. Cooperation, multilateralism, noninterference, trust and equality and so on. This is at least what we hear from our government everyday. So Zakaria is right when he says that China want to avoid conflicts instead of creating them. China is rising not by military expansion but by more subtle and lucrative ways.

One reason for this attitude is that China can never compete with US in military means. US military is too far ahead of China, and China can never spend as extravagantly as US on its army. What’s more, everybody is watching China with tons of concerns and skepticism. If China ever chooses to be so conspicuous, the whole world will be against it.

At the same time, inside China, there is also no space for military expansion according to public opinion and emotions. In early 1990s, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping said to Chinese people that we should focus on our own business and don’t try to be the head of something, that even after China is strong enough, Chine should not pursue the hegemony. This motto is well remembered by following leaders. China now is experiencing the most prosperous and stable time in its history. The memory of war is too harsh and too painful. People now really appreciate the peace and stability, and they just want to make a better life. No one will agree with the government to spend money on aircraft carrier when the money can be used to build a new highway. (Chinese Communist Party understands the needs of people surprisingly well, which is the base of their rule.) Chinese now value economic development more than anything else, which also explains why they make so much voluntary compromise to the government: as long as the government provides a stable society and strong economy, we can talk about human rights or freedom later.

Using economic means to penetrate the American web is much safer and more profitable. This is a win-win situation. Other countries get real benefits, and China gets its legitimate share and world recognition. This effort is made much easier when Bush administration is setting fire all over the place, which makes China a very good alternative for many countries by comparison. (But many times, China is not offering a good or moral alternative. We see frequently that Chinese oversea investment is accompanied by corruption and violation of human rights.)

So my point is: Chins has no need, no ability and no intention to compete with US militarily.

Coming back to the soft power. I keep thinking what kinds of soft power China has got. Zakaria mentioned Chinese economic strength. On one hand, I am proud of the Chinese economic development. The large amount of evidence in Zakaria’s book showed the speed and quantity of Chinese economics growth. But on the other hand, Chinese industries are at the bottom of the food chain. Many Chinese factories are pressured by Walmart to lower their price, so low that the companies always stay at the verge of breaking down. And consider the environmental cost, we have earned nothing. We keep doing this because it offers jobs. Jobs create stability.

Another problem about Chinese economic growth is the distribution of wealth. Most people in China have the feeling that the country is getting rich, but the individuals are getting poor. The wealth created by Chinese people has been concentrated in some corporate and state owned company. Corruption is a huge problem. Rich people spend recklessly. Yesterday in the news there is a story of a rich man using 16 BMWs to welcome his new puppy. People online are getting furious. If you go visit some BBSs, you can feel the anger and tension.

So I think the economic strength of China is not posing a threat as big as what we hear everyday. What’s more, China is not invading anyone or expanding intentionally. China is just fighting for survival. The problem might be that China is too big and takes too much to survive.

When I go further on the list of soft power, I think US is still far ahead in most areas. Take education for example.

China is doing great in international math competitions. Chinese students are very good at calculation. Many people say this is the evidence of Chinese soft power. But why there is not yet any Chinese scientist win Nobel Prize? Chinese education is destructive to the creativity and imagination. It does not encourage questions or team work, which is the real soft power. Most Chinese classes have more than fifty people, and I feel like a product on the assembly line. I am being a bit harsh here, but the fact is that Chinese education is like mass production of goods, instead of teaching people how to be a happy, responsible and useful human. That’s why the best Chinese students always choose to come to US or go to Hong Kong to receive higher education. But on the other hand, when these Chinese students finish their study and go back to China, they will definitely make changes to the country. Just look around, I feel very confident about Chinese future generation. Many of my friends are learning from the best and most advanced, and they will go back.

Coming back from the future, looking at the present situation, I can’t help get a bit depressed again because of another soft power: freedom and rights. America is a great country because of its ability to receive criticism, to assimilate new immigrants, to adapt, to change and to improve. The creation of Hampshire College is a great evidence of the innovation and flexibility. I have great respect for that.

China does not have the openness and vigor of American society. Chinese government lacks the courage. The Tiananmen event in 1989 is still an absolute taboo in China. When a government is not brave enough to face its own history and listen to its own people, then the government is not fully grown up. These days in China, people’s feelings are very complex. On one hand, everyone is happy about China rising up and coming back to where it should be. Nationalism and confidence is high. On the other hand, people are afraid of and unhappy about the government. There is a secret compromise: people should just mind their own business, make as much money as they can and never confront the government or question the politics. There is no free speech and basic rights. Even the property right is obscure, which means that the government might one day confiscate all what you have. I have no passion to work hard when I know that I don’t own my labor and the value I created. I have no affection for a society where new ideas are not encouraged and debates forbidden. How could people be happy when they do not feel safe in their own country? How could people trust the government when their government keep lying and putting on propaganda? People always have the hope that the government is going to change and give more freedom to its people, but they get more and more disappointed every time. So many people are becoming unsatisfied and long for real changes. This is a great force that I will pay close attention to.

The more serious thing is that Chinese government is “killing” the Chinese culture. Free Tibet activists like to talk about Tibet losing its culture. But look at China itself. The cultural destruction is suicidal. We are losing the root and those things that make us Chinese. The old system is totally dismissed and thrown away. The thousands-year-old tree is cut down and burnt to heat up the economy. Just look at how much progress the modern society have made in such a short period of time, then you can imagine how valuable the five-thousand-year accumulation is!

With all these problems, Chinese government still seems to be able to rule the country. Thanks to the hostility and unfairness of many foreign media, Chinese people choose to stand on the side of government and the government is using this nationalism to strengthen its rule.

I am quite sure, that the potential of Chinese people is only 20% released. Chinese hard work is recognized and rewarded. Creativity, integrity and imagination are being oppressed. I am expecting so eagerly that one day all Chinese minds are freed and there is no danger of expressing our real ideas. I hope that one day that the government will invite everyone to discuss how we can improve the present government. When the pressure is gone and freedom arrives, I’m very sure that China will give the world a huge surprise, in a good way.

There is a problem of culture. Throughout China’s 5000 years recorded history, there are no personal rights, only obligations to authority. All the wellbeing people are enjoying is the mercy of the emperor. Even your life belongs to the authority. It took the West several centuries and huge sacrifice to gain the liberty and human rights. But in China, this process has not yet happened. One hundred years ago, there is still an emperor in the Forbidden Palace, and the only occasion, the 1989 Tiananmen event, was brutally extinguished. China still has a long way to go to find out it sown solution and the Chinese way of democracy.

When you ask me what contribution China has made to world within 100 years, I can’t think of anything worth telling. China needs a Renaissance. China needs a 21st century Confucius. The greatest contribution of Chinese people to the world in this new era will not be the cheap products, but Chinese culture, a whole new Chinese philosophy and way of life.

In conclusion, China will inevitably and unwillingly compete with US in many ways because the current situation is unfair. As we step into a Post American world, a new balance will be reached. If China is going to be the real and qualified superpower in 21st century, fundamental changes (political, cultural, and philosophical) will have to be made. China has much more to offer than “Made-in-China.

Africa, Capitalism & the balance sheet

Africa is centrally located at many of the world maps. But Africa has always been regarded as isolated and backward. It seems to be the cut off from Eurasia and the rest of the world, and unable to benefit from the outside civilization, exchange and competition. African has always been seen as a borrower of technology and agriculture from Eurasia, which is proved not true by modern archeology. Actually, indigenous people have created important culture and civilization. However, historic changes happened when European came with guns and slavery.

Slavery has been practiced in Africa throughout the entire history. For centuries, the most valuable African resource for Europeans is the slave, which can be obtained at coastal port, no need to go into the continent. Then in 16th century, Europeans started unprecedented large scale of slave trade because market for slaves was almost limitless. The motivation was purely economic, and the method was extremely brutal, creating one of the biggest miseries in human history. Slave trade continued for over four centuries and was a huge demographic disaster, worsening the under-population of Africa. West Africa traded with the Atlantic world for more than 300 year but without any significant economic development. Many political systems exist at the same time, parasitizing on the flow of slaves over Atlantic Ocean. Europeans can easily carry out slave trade because they use Africans against Africans. Europeans asserted that Africans often sold one another for “mere baubles or the weapons of war”.

The profit for the Europeans and people from the new world was so great that any control or abolition is opposed and impossible. William Wilberforce said: “Interest can draw a film over the eyes so thick that blindness itself could do no more.” And slavery is a deliberately chosen blindness on human conscience.

It is again the interests changed people view and government’s policy. After the industrialization, the West needs no more human labor. They need market and raw materials. The abolitionist in England argued that slave trade is not efficient and profitable in comparison to a legitimate trade in Africa because advanced technology called for oversee market other than cheap supply of human power. In 1788, the African Association was found, followed by tides of systematic exploration and colonialism of Africa.

Most Africa wants to preserve as much independence and power as possible. Against the colonial invasion, some were forced to fight; some thought that there is no use to fight. Some people fight on the side of colonizer because colonizer looked like potential protector. At early stage, two obstacle confined European power to African coastline: disease and absence of military superiority. But later with new medicine and advanced machinery, Europe carved up Africa easily, partly because they can, again, use Africans against Africans. African polities are much divided, thus gave the colonizers the opportunity to take advantage of this divergence of interest. The fact that all Africans are black sometimes prevent people from seeing huge different between Africans. Actually, their cultures and interests are as different as those between the French and the English. The difference stopped Africans from organizing effective revolts. It became even harder after the establishment of colony because rebellion against a colonial government has to be underground thus smaller in scale.

Railway and motor transport vitalized the colonial economy and primarily benefited big European firms. They also enabled further colonization of land for cash crops in response to the high international prices and demand. Education contributed greatly to social change, giving the Africans access to the greater world. The spread of knowledge prepared people for further revolution and independence. Newspapers played a big role. Christianity improved the literacy and won over young people. The wave of western civilization and education transform the politics of Africa, gave rise the nationalism. At the same time, population grew rapidly. All factors worked together and fermented, which lead to the ultimate independence.

This series of stories gave me a better image of the development of capitalism and the accumulation of wealth. Cargos after cargoes of human are taken away from their family and sold into unknown land. Slaves are treated as assets or animals. Behind all these unimaginable crimes, it is only the drive of money and profit. Sometimes I find it really hard to understand this motivation. How ruthless, cunning and hypocritical! And these are no reason that these qualities will change. They will turn in another form, usually more polite and civilized form. The current financial crisis is offering us the best example. Those banker and fund managers are not “deserving.” Their financial derivatives create no value for society and benefit only themselves by getting other people into the trap or lending as much money as possible. It has been the same greed that is driving people, encouraging and rewarding their craziness.

I am criticizing these behaviors because I am not one of them and I don’t benefit from any of their deeds. But sometimes I also wonder what I will do when I am in their system and enjoying the benefit of exploitation? How far will my conscience go?

History is spiraling and going forward. It always repeats itself because the human nature never changes. The struggle between the dark and bright side of us never ends, a mixture of greed, fear, and hope.

If we look at a particular time in the history, it will seem so unimaginable and unequal. But from a broader perspective, the world always balances itself. All debts will be paid. At 16th century, Africa is indeed uncivilized and backward. Just like Chairman Mao pointed out at the beginning of Chinese revolution, that “lag behind and you will definitely get beaten up.” Europeans have beaten Africa up, but at the same time brought modernity. The justification like “White Man’s Burden” is somehow true. Westerners use their superiority to extract value, labor and resources from their colonies, but at the same time, the backward people begin to civilize themselves, unconsciously at first. Together with the economic growth and educational progress, Africans self-awareness was evoked. They redefined themselves and regained confidence of their power, culture and history, using the western ways.

Africa has gone through too much misery and war. God, whichever god it is, will not be so unfair to this piece of land. There must be a bright future lies ahead of Africa. At the same time, the west has stayed at the peak of world power for too long and has created too much pain for the rest of the world. Future generations will repay the debts as the history once again reach a new balance. I believe in this because of the history of China.

Civilizations are turning in a circle. Chinese has developed high level of culinary skills long before the Europeans get command of fire. Ancient record tells us that hundreds of year ago, Chinese describe the foreigners as “monstrous, hairy and smelly." Chinese emperor called the foreigners "barbarian" and disregard their culture, refuse to pay attention or learn from them. Hundreds of years later, the "barbarian" came back. They came back with perfume, guns filled with black powder and ships equipped with newest compass. (China invented the black powder and compass, but uses the black powder only for fireworks in New Year.) Then it was China’s turn to play the role of "barbarians" and less civilized people. China has paid for her arrogance and blindness.

The same thing which stopped China is happening in the West: laziness and complacency and the arrogance coming naturally with the power. Some of these dangers are not yet so obvious. This shift is good because it creates more room for the new comers.

On the other hand, I really don’t wish to see this cycle goes on, but people are too full of themselves and refuse to think about the unpleasant. I wish that when China comes back to where she should be, she won’t make the same mistakes or hurt the rest of the world. This will make the balance sheet of history much easier to carry on.


"Blood and Oil" by Prof. Michael Klare

I'm lucky to have Michael Klare as my first year advisor at Hampshire College. I just watched his film "Blood and Oil" on Youtube. It is a great documentary/interview. I recommend it to you. Here's the link:

This film gives me a new perspective of understanding the history from 1940s till now. A lot of confusing US foreign policies become clear. I think Professor Klare really catches one of the most important issue of today's world: resources and the global competition for resources. In the end, resource is survival.

China is hungry. US is concerned. I hope China won't use violence and other evil means to acquire resources. Africa is a good place to start try something new.

Maybe China could build more hospitals and schools (or even Confucius Institutes) when they build pipelines and railways in Africa. We should offer the world an alternative.

Obviously, that is not what's going on in China now. But this is the reason why I come to an American College. I will learn, I will understand, and I will do it.


Michael Moore's Capitalism film

It's weekend again. Many parents are coming to Hampshire, very sweet =)

Capitalism: a love story. I think this is a successful film. Moore is making a good point. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. This film is focused on America. The situation in the rest of the world might be even worse.

I went to Bank of America the day after the film and talked to the people working in the bank. They love their job as well as the Bank of America, saying that they are very satisfied with this great company.

It is a mater of perspective.



I am taking "African Development" with Professor Frank Holmquist this semester.

I'm interested in Africa for different reasons.

First, Africa is not organized. That means chances and possibilities. Too developed countries tend to be boring.

Second, Africa has resources by all definition. It is under-developed, and it is the paradise for adventure. And, China will certainly have a active role to play. We can help to make China a responsible giant.

Third, Africa is where the largest and most frequent misery of the world come from. To alleviate the suffer of mankind, Africa is a good place to start.

But at the same time, Africa is so far away from my world and my understanding. That's why I find hard to read the papers about that region. I don't have that background.

Reading the history of Africa, it gives me a better understanding of the accumulation of capital, how merciless, how cruel. It tells me that there's no need to shout for my rights. I have to be the powerful, then I can enjoy my rights. Not the other way.

Now as an individual, I'm mostly attracted to this piece of land by its hidden opportunities. But I'm expecting changes.


Long time no see

It has been quite a while since my last post. Blogspot is not available in China, which might not be a bad thing.

It's my third week in US, and so far so good. Life is beautiful, have had a lot of fun. Academics give me a bit of pressure, but there is no problem.

The biggest challenge comes from reading. I need faster speed and higher efficiency to read all these college level materials. It's good that th campus is so diverse, I love to be surprised.

I should and will get a better balance between work and sports. Sports and music make life so much better!


Chinese eat dogs and cats? A cicle in civilization

One year in Germany, I have been asked by many Europeans the same question: do Chinese really eat cat and dogs?

I think the answer is not simply yes or no. There are indeed some people eat cat and dogs in China, but I would say the percentage of people eating dogs in China isn't any higher than the percentage of new Nazis in Germany. People get the false impression from the exaggerated news report. I don't know any of my Chinese friend eating dog, nor have I met any case of xenophobia in Germany.

There's no need for me to deny that Chinese do eat almost everything. It is a very rich eating culture, as long as you can imagine. But most people have very healthy and normal diet: rice, a lot of vegetable and little meat (Maybe also McDonald's now).

There is a historic ground for it. For the poor people, thousands year old Chinese history has always been accompanied by huge famine. People are dying of hunger, they have to live and they have no choice, thus they eat everything they find. This is also the same for other parts of the world. Those picky young people, their grandparents have also eaten some "disgusting" food.

From a religion perspective, many religion has certain rules and concept on what should be eaten and what are dirty. For Chinese, all lives are equal. It doesn't matter if someone eat beef or pork or dog.

In the case of dog, there are also cultural reason. Quite surprisingly, in old days in China, dog has been a symbol of snobbishness and cruelty because the rich landlords and tax collectors bring the dogs as accomplice to bully the poor people. And poor people never have a chance to raise a dog for themselves because there are so less to eat. The deep friendship and adoration between man and dog don't widely exist in our culture until recently.

OK, enough for this nasty topic. Then I want to talk about a feeling of mine. Civilizations are turning in a circle. Chinese has develop high level of culinary skills long before the Europeans get command of fire. Ancient record tell us that hundreds of year ago, Chinese describe the foreigners as "with monstrous color of eyes, hair all over the body, emit unpleasant odor." Chinese emperor called the foreigners "barbarian" and disregard their culture, refuse to pay attention or learn from them. Hundreds of years later, the "barbarian" came back. They came back with guns filled with black powder and ships equipped with newest compass, and opium, of course. (China invented the black powder and compass, but use the black powder only for fireworks in new year.)

Today, young Chinese adore Hollywood stars with blue or green eyes, using American shaver and French perfume. Now it is our turn to play the role of "barbarians" and less civilized people. The "more civilized people" make all kind of disgusted facial expression when they hear about those exotic Chinese food (snake, dog...), making fun about the old habits.

I especially don't understand why some people eat so much chicken and pork and beef, even horse and rabbit, without a bad conscience when they care so much about cat and dogs. What is the difference between these life? Why some animal should be slaughtered without any sympathy, some others deserve a luxurious life?

China has experience both the top and the bottom of the civilization. China understand the stupidness of laughing at others culture and being too proud and too blind. China has learned it lessons, and hopefully the lessons serve as a mirror for the civilized people now. Those who stop improving will be defeated and eliminated.


Some thoughts on Germany Gymnasium and Chinese school

Time to say good bye. I have had a wonderful year in Germany, in Altenburg, and in Spalatin Gymnasium. The contrast between my German and Chinese schools are strong, and here I'd like to share some of my thoughts on the reason of these differences.

The first obvious reason is the population. China has a huge population, and usually huge classes. The resource is extremely limited, especially the energy of the teachers. In a class of 50 pupils, each pupil will not be treated as an individual, he/she will be regarded as a product on the assembly line. My class in German Gymnasium has always around fifteen student. The teacher will stop to answer each personal question, and always wait until everyone has understood.

More people also means more discipline. Once in my German school, we had a religion class with 27 student. It was an nightmare for the teacher. German students are used to the freestyle, and when there are 27 freestyles in one class... In my Chinese school, students are always reminded that they are a part of the group and it is selfish for them to raise there question in class and waste the time of others.

Another reason is the teacher. During my year in Germany, I have met a lot of young people who want to be a teacher in the future, for kindergarten, for normal schools and for gymnasiums. All my teachers love their job. The quality of teachers is high. I regret to say the situation are not so good in China these days. I have good teacher, I do admit. But on a general level, most of the students who want to be a teacher are coming from the middle (or even lower) level of their own class. Good students want to join Wall Street or work for international companies. Chinese teachers don't earn too much money, and it is not really regarded as a good job.

But the fundamental factor is the system. Almost all troubling problems in China generate from the system.

Let's start from the social code. The stress of life is huge. Young people get to much expectation on them. Parents and grandparents are expecting their success, which is the honor of the whole family. And the definition of success for most Chinese is very narrow: a decent job with attractive salary, purely materialized. To get a good job, people need the diploma from one of those handful of elite universities. So all parents have been telling their children "get into XX University" at the very beginning. (In contrary, young people in Germany seem very carefree and without stress, thanks to the comprehensive social system and Hartz IV).

Then let's see the system of university admission test, or the infamous Gaokao. Students around the whole country take the test in three days, and the final score will decide which university they can get in. The three digit number will tell what their life will be. So it is imaginable that everyone does their best to get the highest possible score. Then what does the test look like? What in the end does it TEST in a student? Unfortunately, The tests reflect the student's knowledge and memory, but not ability. Therefore, all schools and teachers and students themselves are only interested in repeating the knowledge and improve the speed of answering the questions. The mentality and personality have little chance to be developed.

No doubts, these student, when they take hold of their own life, they are far less capable of chasing their own dream, creating a happy life and contribution to the society. I sometimes wonder if they really care about contribute to the society in which they come from, in which they have been "tortured". So much stress and unfairness has squeezed their curiosity and sensitivity to the beauty of life.

Of course, I am trying to describe the worst situation in the paragraphs above. There are a rather big number of really brilliant and ambitious Chinese student. There are always those people who survive and thrive in any situation, and they are the ones to rewrite the rules. But the education of a country is for the general public whose life and happiness are greatly influence by the system they live in.

A good education (elementary and secondary education, before universities) should equip the young people with necessary knowledge, but the more important thing is to develop the creativity, a healthy mentality, team work spirit, communication ability, a positive attitude for life and the ability to pursue a happy and meaningful life.

From this point of view, I would say that the German schools are doing a much better job than the Chinese ones, and I wish to bring what I have experience back to China. We will happily learn from the good examples, and I hope my children (and their contemporaries) will have a real education.







“对待一切善良的人,不管是家属,还是朋友,都应该有一个两字箴言:一曰真,二曰忍。真者,以真情实意相待,不允许弄虚作假;对待坏人,则另当别论。忍者,相互容忍也。 ”







Google's next weapon - image search

Google is a great company. What they have done always surprises us. Sometimes, I would think: what other crazy things will they do?

I got an idea of "image search" when I was in Dresden. Near the Frauen Kirche, I was surrounded by tourists around the world. Most of them has got certain kind of digital camera, and how diligent they are, taking photos 360 degree. I'm sure that I had appeared on the corner of many photos they took. Then, many of them might upload their photos on the Internet.

I begin to think: what if people can search for images with images? For example, someone give in the image of me, and Google will find my face over the whole Internet. Then anyone in the world can know where I am, what I am doing and what kind of girls I have beside me.

Now, all search engines are searching for words. Even those "Image" function, they can only search for the name of the images.

Maybe the next step for Google, is to develop the tech which can really search for images.

This will be cool, and disastrous. It's like the big brother watching us. The photo takers are not aware that they are a part of a huge voluntary network, all over the world.

FBI might be very interested.







百年德国汉学 探讨昨天和明天

百年德国汉学 探讨昨天和明天

6月3日到4日,由著名汉学家顾彬教授作东,在波恩大学召开了为期两天的"德国汉学百年"研讨会。今年是德国汉学的大年,不仅是第一个汉学教授产生100 周年,而且是德国第一本汉语教学课本诞生70周年,汉语教科书德语版出版50周年,第一届德语区高校汉语教学讨论会30周年。

庆祝德国汉学百年,起因是:100年前的1909年,德国汉堡殖民学院(Kolonialinstitut)创办东亚语言与历史研究所,福 兰阁(Otto Franke,1863-1946)应聘为教授并担任所长,成为德国第一位汉学教授。福兰阁1888年作为外交译员前往中国,先后在北京、天津、上海等地 的德国公使馆服务达13年(1888-1901)之久。1903年至1907年他受聘任清政府驻柏林公使馆秘书。福兰阁一生著述甚丰,共发表文章和著作 200多种,书评100多篇。其中最负声誉的是五卷本《中国通史》。

在波恩大学的讨论会上,德中学者提出德国汉学有300年和100年两种说法。维也纳大学孔子学院院长李夏德教授(Richard Trappel)对德国之声记者说:"关于德语区汉学到底有了多长时间的历史,每个人的看法都不一样。比如是要看有了一个系,一个学院,还是有了一个汉学 家。"

与会的中国外国语大学中国海外汉学研究中心正副主任张西平和李雪涛两位教授的说法几乎是一样的:1909年是德国学院或者说学术汉学的开端。而从民 间汉学来说,在此前较长时间地存在着对中国的研究和翻译。张西平教授介绍了17世纪德国的民间汉学,李雪涛教授尤其强调了以汤若望为代表的传教士在介绍和 研究中国方面起到的重大作用。

100年来,德国出现了许多杰出的汉学家。这些汉学家不但向德国人介绍了中国文化,而且通过这种介绍深刻地影响了德国的方方面面。在这个讨论会上, 波恩学者陈琦介绍了汉学家佛尔克(Alfred Forke)。佛尔克在1927年前后撰写与出版的3卷本德语中国哲学史,也许在今天看来有许多错,但是,这是全世界(包括中国在内)第一部完整的中国哲 学史。在他之前,胡适发表过中国哲学史纲,但只写到老子庄子一代,没有再写下去。其它中国人写的中国哲学史都在佛尔克之后。

顾彬教授着重介绍了著名汉学家卫礼贤(Richard Wilhelm)。顾彬给卫礼贤以极高的评价,认为,没有卫礼贤,现当代德国的哲学、心理学、神学、文学等根本就是无法想象的。卫礼贤翻译的中国的老子、 庄子、孔子、易经等经典哲学著作,对德国几十年来文化和社会的发展起到了的几乎是颠覆性的作用。顾彬举了布莱希特等文学、哲学界巨人为例。顾彬说,卫礼贤 是备受争议的人物,他的译文中也有不少错,但是,"人是错误做的,如果人不犯错误,他就不是人,他只能做上帝。""一些汉学家一生不受批评,原因是他们既 不偏向中国立场,也不偏向德国立场,所谓的客观。但我认为,没有立场是不对的。"顾彬举例说,68年学生运动时,德国人的思维跟着中国的文革走,同样地排 斥孔孟老庄,因此那时这些人是不会接受卫礼贤的。

美茵茨大学教授柯彼德(Peter Kupfer)介绍了德国汉语教学100年来的发展道路。70年前的1939年,石密德教授与陈懿讲师合编了德语区第一套汉语教科书"标准国语教本"。 50年前的1959年,"汉语教科书"德语版出版。30年前的1979年,在柏林自由大学召开了第一届德语区高校汉语教学现状讨论会。10年前的1999 年8月8日至12日,在汉诺威召开的"第六届国际汉语教学讨论会"是至今为止在欧洲召开的最大的汉语教学会议,有400多名专家学者与会。此外,1983 年成立了德语区汉语教学协会,1984年在德国创刊的"春"是至今欧洲唯一一本汉语教学杂志。


德国的汉学以前是以语言学和中国古典文化学、历史学为主,现在则更多地介绍现代中国社会、经济、政治、司法、国际关系的发展等等。中国学者对这种情 况是喜中有忧。张西平教授说:"我实在不能理解,在对中国越来越感兴趣的同时,德国的汉学却在收缩。比如最近又取消了基尔大学等两个大学的汉学系。"李雪 涛教授指出,现在的趋势,无论是学术界还是大学生,大家都更重视中国的经济和政治,而忽视中国文化,这是偏了的。应该是对中国的文化和历史同样重视,才能 真正了解中国,促进德国与中国各方面关系的发展。

德语区的汉学家们也在为保持与中国文化的联系奋斗着。李夏德教授说:"80年代我认识了很多中国当代著名作家,象王蒙,张洁,特别是诗人,朦胧派的 北岛,顾城,舒婷等等,我跟他们交了朋友,非常喜欢他们的诗。我认为,我们要了解现在的中国,就要了解中国的文化背景,特别是80年代中国的文学发展。尤 其是如果跟20年代、30年代作比较,比如把当时的徐志摩、闻一多这些诗人跟80年代的诗人作一个比较。"




Our way

My destiny and service lie in the revival and globalization of Chinese civilization. However, China is out of the "main stream" and is excluded from the real decision makers and big players. Although China is very often the headline or focus of internatinoal media, but China is really at the bottom of the food chain and still struggling for a survival. This is also dangerous because the majority of the world population is the victim and prey of the globalization. This is such a upset truth that I keep asking how we (as well as the other marginalized countries and cultures) can join the "club".

I used to think that we have to copy the model from the developed world as fast as we can. But now I begin to realize that we should make our own standard, have our own ideas. But we have to understand their systems first. It took them hundreds of years to build their empire. We will use much less time to rebuild the Chinese one, but it's extremely hard way, and we are too young and naive. But it doesn't matter.









“我国文化之悠久及其在世界文化史上罕有其匹的连续性,形成一条从未枯竭、从未中断的长河,但时至今日,这条长河却在某些方面面临中断的危险,此可能中断的方 面是代代累积,构成我民族文化重要内容的各类古代典籍的研究和继承。不可讳言,目前我们一代人的古典学科基础已远不如上一代人之深厚,继我们而起的青年一 代则更无起码的古典基础可言,多数人甚至对古代文学、历史、哲学的典籍连看也看不懂了。



Pfadfinder 德国童子军






朝圣 Taize


Taize在法国,是个不大的村子,不过每年都有十万青年从全球来到这里。关于它的介绍大家可以看 http://www.taize.fr/zh。




我认为,人就是人,只是芸芸众生的一支,人的理解能力有限,我们本身就是“道”的产物,永远不能窥见“道”的全貌。就像数学里,不能用得出的结论来证明原命题。所以,Take it easy,我们有幸被赋予了灵性,也同时被这灵性所困扰。







全世界都在说中国话,The Economist 一篇关于水资源的文章就这样开头:

THE Chinese word for politics (zhengzhi) includes a character that looks like three drops of water next to a platform or dyke. Politics and water control, the Chinese character implies, are intimately linked.




Be Deserving


The bankers and fund managers were not doing anything useful. Unlike the “deserving” rich entrepreneurs who set up Microsoft and Google, the “undeserving” traders and brokers just shuffled money around the system to nobody’s profit but their own. The faster the money went round, the larger the financial sector loomed in the rich countries’ economies.




现在所有的想法都是很不成熟的。这也是乐趣所在 =)


New Project

Life can be very easy for me this year. But this is not what I am asking for. I will make more "troubles" for myself because "If I rest, I rust".

So in the following month, I will do something extra. Each weak, I will pay attention to a certain topic of my own choice and interests. I will read and discuss and write an essay (or something like an essay) on this topic.

I have already decided on the following themes:

1. Chinese eat dog?---one of the most frequently asked question in Europe and one of the biggest misunderstanding.

2. School in China and in Germany---I'm working on it now. Very inspiring topic.

3. Tibet---maybe I will keep quite first. But from what I see and hear in Germany and from the free internet, I feel the need to address my opinion.

I will know the true challenge only if I start. Sometimes I am just too lazy. But now I will build the new habit. When realize what is right, just do it. Fight the gravity!














现在越来越意识到,我在中国十一年的学校教育中存在着多大的问题。我们甚至连《论语》一遍都没读完。花在学习传统文化精髓上的时间,还赶不上做英语“灿烂在六月”。做吧,做到后来得出一条结论:英语,就是no why no reason! 这样的教育,是自杀式的,是在抹杀自己民族的未来。









中医现代化,解开死结! (转:现在的中医现代化是假的现代化)

















刘力红教授还谈到:“在中医博士里,现在已经很少有人看中医经典了。如果哪一位博士的案头放上一部《黄帝内经》,那是要被笑话的。博士的案头都是些什么书呢?都是分子生物学一类的现代书。博士这个群体无疑是个高层次的群体,所以读些现代的书是理所当然的。但是作为中医博士为什么不愿读中医书尤其不愿读经典呢? 中医教育遇到了前所未有的深刻的危机,而中医教育的危机从根本上说就是信心的危机。中医教育最大的失败就是没有能够解决学生的信心问题。”
针对中医院校流行的不信任中医的风气,全国著名老中医、上海中医药大学的裘沛然教授(以下简称裘老)毫不客气地指出:“现在中医院校的老师和学生对中医没有信心,就是因为没有学好中医,对中医学的精髓一无所知。其实,西医治不好的病,中医治好的很多。中医教育落到今天这样一个局面,实际上是自己不争气。本来,中医院校教育的目的是要培养高级中医师,最低要求是培养出合格的中医师。可是现在,中医院培养不出来合格的中医,培养出来的中医简直就是废品,连庸医的水平都达不到,庸医也还是要懂一些中医的汤药方剂,可现在培养出的学生对中医的理法方药根本不懂。 丢掉了根柢的中医被抛人无家可归的命运之中
裘老痛切地指出:“中医现代化,首先要知道几千年来无数的大医和先哲们呕心沥血的成果是什么。只有在这个基础上,才谈得到中医的现代化。对几千年的中医学术成果茫然无知,你搞什么现代化?你根本不懂啊,没资格来讲中医的现代化。可是现在,由于中医现代化的含义错了,中医现代化成了中医的西医化。现在所谓的中医现代化其实是 假的现代化,这种现代化是一种华而不实的现代化,是一个种赶时髦。他们不相信中医几千年来通过临床几亿人身上实践的成果,他们只相信小老鼠身上实验的结果。不相信几千年的伟大传统而相信小老鼠,这是对中医根本不了解,是一个错误。在这样一种现代化的指导下,所谓的中医创新是空话,中医学术陷入了错误导向的混乱之中。我们必须牢牢记住:只有返本才能开新。无论是中医现代化还是中医创新,只有与五千年的传统一脉相承,只有在中医学自身的规矩准绳内发展,中医的现代化才能真正开花结果,中医的创新才能真正落到实处,也才可能出现真正有价值的成果。“
虽然刚刚在非典一线立下大功,广东省中医院名老中医的师承弟子们仍然对中医学的前途怀着深深的忧虑。他们告诉记者:“许多人都在谈论,中医的科研成果出来之后为什么没法推广。实际上,现在中医界的科研工作者就相当于中医学的翻译人员,他们的工作只是把中医学的内容翻译成西医和国外的人都能接受的信息而已。它本身并没有真正发展中医。比如西医的胰岛素是治疗糖尿病的特效药。在没有研制出来之前,许多自体无法产生胰岛素的 面临着死亡。该产品一旦开发出来,马上就可以推广,挽救了不少患者的生命。胰岛素的出现解决了一个现代医学曾经无法解决的疑难。中医学几千年的历史也证明了,这一博大精深的理论体系,它的存在造福了亿万生灵,它的每一次发展都解决了人类健康的重大难题,例如伤寒论的问世、温病学派的产生等等。可是,我们现在的中医学术研究是一种什么情况呢?比如说像活血化瘀治疗心脏病。在这样 科研进行之前,谁都知道活血化瘀治疗心脏病。等到所谓的科研成果出来之后,一切照旧。可以这么说,这样一种中医学术研究,只不过是给中医学穿了一件逻辑语言和数学语言编制的外衣而已,对中医的实际内容没有任何触动。何况,活血化瘀只是中医博大精深的理论中普普通通的一个方法而已,当今之所以倍受关注,无非是套用西医动脉粥样硬化、血栓、微循环等理论罢了。”
上海中医药大学的一位博士告诉记者:“中医院校的硕士生做实验做到细胞水平,博士生做实验做到基因水平,这种中医还是中医吗?这种中医到临床能看好病吗? 实验室里的老鼠能检验中医的成果吗?比如说对中医的一味药进行中药提纯。这味药在整体上却没有毒性,疗效很好。提得越纯、越细,毒性就越明显,疗效就越低。那么是以疗效判定药的好坏,还是以纯度判定药的好坏? 而现在所谓的中医现代化是以纯度为标准判定药的好坏,这恰恰说明不能用西医这一套标准评价中医。可是。我们中医科研的经费却全都浪费到老鼠身上去了。所谓的科研成果其实都是泡沫。我们中医界应该认真反思,我们的科研是在发展中医还是在消灭中医?中医的学位是不是授予了那些中医学得好的人?”
由于导向的错误,所谓的“中医现代化”也就成了“中医的伪现代化”,把中医带上了一条名存实亡的道路。就像一位中医界人士所说的,当年为“中医不能丢”所做的努力,中医机构的增加,中医院校数量的增加等等在很大程度上变成了空壳,邓老(邓铁涛)称之为“泡沫”,干老 (于祖望)称之为“蝉蜕”,是很形象深刻的比喻。而真正有志于中医的学子也陷入了进退两难的困境之中。在一所中医药大学流传着这样的顺口溜:“规规矩矩学习中医,中医死掉;认认真真拜师学艺,自己死掉”。一位从中医药大学毕业不久的硕士这样总结自己的学习生涯:“3年研究生学习的最大收获是‘走出校门,跳出正规”’。也就是说,走出已经学不到中医的中医药大学,到民间参访名师寻求真知;跳出已经“走入歧途”(裘老语)的中医正规教育,到浩如烟海的古代典籍中体认中医的正道。