The TED interview below (video at the end of the post) was conducted in July 2010 with Julian Assange talking about the need for the public to keep an eye out for government conduct. Americans cherish freedom of the press, and by that, it is generally understood that the media’s job is to be the watchdog of the government and any other organization of power.
Following is a rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” in Chinese. It’s a delightful performance. The Chinese performance struck me for having taken the music (in my opinion the great part) and replacing the lyrics (in my opinion the not so great part) with something that is much more palatable. While China has many problems to overcome, she is also benefiting from experiences in societies abroad. The benefit of coming from behind is you have the luxury to pick and choose. Not to mention, who would imagine there’s a connection between Lady Gaga and grandma’s and grandpa’s in China!
When you think of the word, culture, what comes to mind? For some, it means identity. Others who accept Henry Kissinger’s argument, that China finds exceptionalism in culture while America pursues ‘freedom’ and ‘human rights’ with missionary zeal, culture defines values. When I think of Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, (with due respect of course) I think of pockets of Chinese culture bifurcated during heights of Chinese civilization. Chinatowns throughout the world are time-capsules of Chinese culture too. A good friend of mine who was born in Vietnam once told me he was more ‘Chinese’ than me!
Today, I was thoroughly impressed by Chinese folk dance performances done by very young students of the accomplished Jun Lu Performing Arts Academy. Jun Lu is very much keeping this aspect of Chinese culture alive in the San Francisco Bay Area Chinese American community. I applaud her. I applaud the parents and students who dedicate time to these wonderful arts. Below are some pictures I took. Continue reading Chinese Folk Dance in Silicon Valley→
Former U.S. Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, in a televised Republican primary debate told Americans he would reach out to the 500 million Chinese Internet users; to lead them towards change which would ultimately “take China down.” Video below has been circulating in China. It contains what Huntsman said captioned in Chinese. I want to share reader silentchinese‘s response.
Former CIA agent of 20 years, turned historian, Dr. Michael Scheuer, recently discussed his views with Russia Today about America and the Muslim world. U.S. political leaders should absolutely heed what he had to say. The only disagreement I have with Scheuer is his view that the U.S. is inextricable in her feud with the Middle East. The U.S. and the West have the might to help strengthen the U.N., and to sincerely uphold international law. When that happens, the world at large will be much more willing to stand behind U.N. in whatever steps it takes to resolve the feud between the West and the Muslim world. That is the way out of the feud.
With Obama meeting other East Asian countries in Hawaii these few days, the “American re-engagement with Asia” story is all of a sudden in vogue again. This new way of thinking actually started with President Obama’s promise couple of years ago to double America’s exports in the not too distant future. The goal itself is worthy and is an excellent way to channel America’s energy. Unfortunately, the simple gist of that U.S. ‘re-engagement’ has instead been couched by the U.S. media into some sort of militaristic furtherance, with a suspicious eye casted at China. Such ploy is to dramatize and sell ads (and, sure, by politicians to garner votes). I am happy that the Obama administration still publicly reaffirms the idea that a richer China bodes well for American exporters, because that is the simple truth. Ask Intel, Apple, GM, and Caterpillar. Continue reading America feeling missing out in Asia→
China Daily has a really good article out about comedian Joe Wong. He first debut on Letterman couple of years ago. Last year, he performed at the Radio Television Correspondence dinner at the White House. The thing that I most admire in Wong is his marching forward unencumbered by whatever perceived limitations that he might have – for example his accent.
The following image (h/t DJ) came via Zee M Kane (editor at The Next Web) of CNN cropping out an Israeli [see Citizen comment below] U.S. soldier’s assault rifle. Some say the rifle is not pointed at the head of the enemy soldier. I think its hard to tell. But that’s really irrelevant. What CNN did with the crop is to tell a lie. This is not unlike the bullshit this same network pulled for example in cropping out violent rioters in the 2008 Lhasa riot with bricks in hand. Nor is it different from them using fake photos taken from other events. [Update]Also as some of you have noticed, look at Aljazeera’s crop. What the heck is happening with journalism?! [Update Nov 21, 2011: See Allen’s response to Citizen comments these might have been hypotheticals and not real. Sorry folks. Given CNN’s lies in the past, I was eager to jump to the conclusion.]
Remember the 1990s and early 2000s hunt for WMD in Iraq headed by the former director-general of the IAEA, Hans Blix? No WMD has been found, but during that period, the propaganda within the NATO countries arguing for war ultimately led to the 2003 Iraq invasion.
Now, fast forward to 2011. I get the sinking feeling we are witnessing the repeat of that. Remember the supposed plot by Iran to hire some Mexicans to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. just few weeks ago? And now the IAEA report? Given the headlines in the NATO countries, does it really matter what the real truth is? Patrick Hayes from spiked summed up the sentiment, as expressed in this China Daily opinion column comic, rather well: Continue reading Is the West building a case for the invasion of Iran?→
Following is a TED talk given by Hans Rosling about two years ago. Rosling has a unique skill in visualizing large data sets that span civilizations. In a nutshell, it was freeing from colonialism and foreign invasions followed by capitalism that is finally enabling China and India to slowly catch up to their Westerner counterparts. His data and visualization couldn’t make it any clearer. Niall Ferguson has been making his rounds about the six “killer apps” of the West where he argued were responsible for the West’s success in the last five centuries. I thought this Rosling talk is every bit relevant to what Nial Ferguson is saying, or rather, what he neglected to explicitly say. Most of the rich countries today managed to keep such a distance in terms of wealth and power because they kept the rest of the world down through war and plunder.
Little over a month ago, China launched the Tiangong-1 space lab module and announced a planned next step of conducting space docking within two months. Launched couple of days ago, Shenzhou-8 has made a successful space dock with Tiangong-1. This is a major milestone for China’s space program as this is a crucial step in building a space station.
China is the third nation to achieve this capability. The U.S. first achieved it back in 1966. China’s solution is unique. The China Daily report quoted Gregory Kulacki, senior analyst and China project manager at the global security program of the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit scientific advocacy group based in the United States: Continue reading China achieves space docking→
[Editor’s note: this post is of course in response to the recent barrage of articles in the U.S. and U.K. scoffing at the idea that European leaders may be looking at China to ‘save’ Greece. For example, here, Huffington Post writes, “China As Savior or Predator in Europe?” Does such narrative even make sense? China is really the innocent bystander, but now we all are supposed to think in terms of her being the ‘savior’ or ‘predator’?]