Archive for January, 2014

Happy New Year – Year of the Horse!

January 31st, 2014 2 comments

One of the great things about being a Chinese in the “modern era” is that in this international age where we all seem to start celebrating the new years starting as early as Thanksgivings … then “Christmas,” then the (solar) “New Year,” we always find ourselves crescendoing to celebrate the lunar New Year.  It is no different this year.

So – Happy New Year Everyone and Welcome to the Year of the Horse!

Horses traditionally are known to be hardworking and independent. They are very intelligent and ambitious.  They do not quit and always strive to succeed. They are strong but also kind and gentle.

May your new year be prosperous, healthy, and meaningful.  Cheers!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

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My Humanitarian Intervention, A Morality Tale in US

January 23rd, 2014 Comments off

Those who read my writings would probably get the impression that I’m very strictly non-interventionist and somewhat cold-hearted.

But those who know me in person would see a more complex side of me. I actually do help people a lot, beyond my work. I tutor students of poor background. I donate blood. I even volunteer at a local food bank to prepare meals for the homeless.

So perhaps I believe on interventions on a personal level or for some specific goals. I don’t know if that’s true.

Perhaps 1 of my recent experiences of morality tale in US would better illustrate the lessons of interventions more clearly.

Read more…

Perceptions of corruption in the US and PRC – not exactly what one would expect

January 20th, 2014 3 comments

I was casually browsing through Transparency International’s website, and noticed something peculiar – even though citizens of the Republic of Georgia have a much higher opinion of their country’s ability to deal with corruption in their country relative to their counterparts in the US, and a much more optimistic outlook on the future of public institutions, Georgia ranks 55th on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI), whereas the US ranks 19th (see 2013 rankings). Given the inherent difficulty in measuring actual levels of corruption, I understand why PERCEPTION of corruption is widely considered the best available proxy. But IF public perception is so important, I still didn’t understand why Georgia is 36 places lower than the US, when its citizens have a far more positive perception about their country’s ability to contain corruption in virtually every category measured.

I did a little digging and asking around, and I found that CPI rankings actually place LITTLE, IF ANY weight on public perception within the countries being ranked. If Wikipedia is accurate, CPI rankings are actually based on aggregates of “expert opinions” from select institutions that Transparency International (TI) deems “credible”:

“Transparency International commissioned Johann Graf Lambsdorff of the University of Passau to produce the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). The 2012 CPI draws on 13 different surveys and assessments from 12 different institutions. The institutions are the African Development Bank, the Bertelsmann Foundation, the Economist Intelligence Unit, Freedom House, Global Insight, International Institute for Management Development, Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, Political Risk Services, the World Economic Forum, the World Bank and the World Justice Project.”

On the other hand, there is a section in TI’s website that covers public opinion, known as the “Global Corruption Barometer” (GCB), from which I noticed the peculiar results in Georgia and the US. This inevitably made me curious about Chinese public opinion of their own institutions compared to that of Americans, so I found the latest dataset (2010/2011) in which both the US and China were included, and here are some excerpts of the survey results, along with my personal interpretation thereof. What I found so far is that IF public perception is supposed to be a good proxy for actual corruption, then one CANNOT conclude that corruption is somehow worse in China than the US, at least not if you’re to believe the citizens of each country.
Read more…

A History of US Strategies in South China Sea

January 19th, 2014 3 comments

We often hear of the accusations of China’s ambitions and designs in the South China Sea.

Some of it is undoubtedly true and expected, China has claims in the area for a long time now.  It’s not new claims.  So, certainly China would have ambitions to meet its claims.

However, rarely discussed is the US ambitions in the SCS.  When it has no claims in the area, it trumps up its “interests in freedom of navigation”.  That’s akin to a tourist getting into a local land dispute.  So, there must be more to it.

There is.  And the history of SCS demonstrates US’s strategy and ambitions, when analyzed in clarity and details.

Read more…

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A Tribute to Run Run Shaw

January 8th, 2014 1 comment
Run Run Shaw

entrepreneur, filmmaker, philanthropist

It is with sadness that we learned that Run Run Shaw – entrepreneur, investor, filmmaker, philanthropist – died Tuesday in his home in Hong Kong at the age of 107. There are few men in modern China – anywhere actually – with the stature, reach, and heart of Run Run Shaw. People who don’t pay attention sometimes may associate Shaw with just low-budget Chinese action and horror films, or just kung fu movie flicks, when in truth, his impact is much broader.   As Neda Ulaby of the NPR recently noted:

A world without Run Run Shaw would’ve meant a world without Quentin Tarantino…

Or the Wu Tang Clan…

Or “The Matrix.”

That global pop culture vernacular came from a Hong Kong media mogul who dominated the industry for decades. Read more…

Categories: Analysis, media, News Tags: ,

Happy New Year

January 1st, 2014 No comments

I want to wish everyone Great Health, and a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

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