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Archive for February, 2015

Reply to Verna Yu and NYT

February 20th, 2015 9 comments

Verna Yu is supposedly a free lance writer and published an opinion page column in New York Times on Feb 18, 2015 titled “Giving Up on Hong Kong”, which I think deserve a rebuttal here. New York Times has been on a propaganda offensive against China since being barred from China a few years ago. A few days ago they even published a puff piece on India overtaking China in economic growth which is laughable and full of holes. As comments already showed the laughable analysis it was I would not bother to rebut it here, but this article really got me angry.
Ms. Yu’s grandfather was a professor fleeing Guangzhou in 1947 to Hong Kong from Chinese civil war. some of her family fled Hong Kong after TAM in 89 and before the handover to China in 1997, some returned later after the panic receded, she has a British passport and British university education, and now she’s hinting she might leave again. her grievances can be summed up as following:

1. Usual bromide about inequality and soaring property prices.

2. Hong Kong can no longer be insulated from Chinese politics, and becoming just another Chinese city.

3. Democracy, freedom of speech, rule of law, etc.

I would like to rebut her point by point here.

1. Ms. Yu like most of the OC crowd belong to not the bottom 50% or the top 1%, but mostly from the 1-20%, so any bromide about inequality is probably insincere. They aspire to be the 1%, certainly not for more taxes on themselves to provide for more social services for the bottom. They do worry about their off springs being remain on top, and ready to fly away to London or Vancouver at any scent of disorder. They are mainly the beneficiaries of the soaring property prices, enabling them to sell at the top and buy houses in places like Vancouver or Long Island where locals there are grumbling about the Chinese driving real estate prices beyond their earning power.

2. Well, too bad, the goal of 1 country-2 systems is suppose to gradually change to 1 country-1 system. Who are you to feel superior to other Chinese. I would be in favor of Hong Kong gradually introduce patriotic education courses to suppress the colonial outlook.

3. The usual complains of liberals against authoritarian China. Where has Ms. Yu been? Horror of horrors, pepper spray, tear gas? Did Hong Kong lost freedom of speech? Has she ever heard of Ferguson, Missouri? Has she heard of Charlie Hebdo? Ms. Yu must be living at Fukuyama’s end of history.

I was born in 1947, the year Varna Yu’s grandfather left for Hong Kong. My father was a merchant seaman who was stranded in U.S. with the end of Chinese civil war. I was reunited with him when China granted my mother and me exit visas for humanitarian family reunification in 1959. We were from the bottom 50%. To me income inequality is real and widening in U.S., while in China they are making real efforts to bridge it and move hundreds of millions out of poverty. That is human right in reality, not a throw away catch phrase for Varna Yu.

 

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Behind the Great Western Firewall Is the Ugly Truth

February 15th, 2015 1 comment

I came across this article on the Vineyard of the Saker blog, which I think is worth reading (both the article and the blog in general). I don’t know what fellow Hidden Harmonies bloggers think of other works by Jeff Brown (especially those related to China), but his description of information control methods in the West seems to be pretty spot on.

By the way, my fellow bloggers should be proud of the fact that Hidden Harmonies is listed as a source of good alternative media, in the same mention as Asia Times and CounterPunch no less.

I choose not to copy and paste this essay in its entirety, given that there are multiple hyperlinks in it, which are necessary components that enrich the narrative. While I’m sure there are some automated ways to copy over these hyperlinks, I figured an extra click wouldn’t be too hard. 🙂

Behind the Great Western Firewall Is the Ugly Truth

Eddie Huang, FOB, Time Warner Condos, and Gold Coast Houses.

February 9th, 2015 21 comments

With the launching Of the sit-com “Fresh off the Boat” on ABC, there were a flurry of articles on Eddie Huang and the TV series. There was a profile of him in New York Times beside the review of the show, and Arthur Chu wrote about the importance of the show for Asian Americans in Salon.com. I watched the first 2 episodes and have mixed feelings as it triggered my own memory when I was in High School in New York. Eddie Huang was born in 82 of immigrant Taiwanese parents. He graduated with law degree and passed bar exam first time, worked for NYC law firm for 2 years, got layoff, worked as a standup comic and marijuana dealer, opened a restaurant called Baohus and got great review from NYT, opened a second one and closed it. He wrote an autobiography called “Fresh off the Boat”, and now turned to a TV series. Eddie talked about growing up around the age of 9 when his family moved from Washington D.C. to Orlando suburbs to open a steak-house restaurant, the resulting clash of cultures, race, and being bullied in school. Because of the format being sit-com, it inevitably stereotypes certain situations to generate laughs, the tiger-mom, model minority emphasis on grades, his own rebellion by embracing hip hop and basketball, and some minor swipes at suburban life style. I remember myself in early 60s, being the only Chinese in a high school of 3,000, got in my only fight in school with a Puerto Rican student when he started to bully me by using the F word of my mother. I was rescued in the principal’s office by my music teacher who vouched for me. Unlike Eddie who was born here I was very conscious of my poor English pronunciations and has only 2 Ukrainian fellow students from the neighborhood as friends during morning train rides. When the word Chink was used by neighborhood kids I knew better than to engage them by just ignoring them and walked fast past them. I sublimed my anger by what Lu Hsun called Ah-Q method, clutching my NYT newspaper and mumbling to myself that they are nothing but jail baits as I knew the proportion of African Americans in jail from reading the papers. I think that Eddie Huang may not like the way the show was portrayed and deviated from his vision, but if he wants the show to succeed, unlike his second restaurant then the compromises are inevitable.

NYT this weekend also have 3 articles on real estate. One on a Malaysian Chinese as a go between for the son of Prime Minister there in purchasing real estate in U.S.. One on the Time Warner center condos and the shell companies used by foreigners, some of them being Chinese nationals. Third being the Gold Coast, northern coast of Long Island suburbs where Chinese have been buying up expensive mansions with cash like hot cakes. The descriptions being nouveau-riche, uncouth, possibly corrupt Chinese driving genteel WASP or Jews out and pricing out natives from the housing market and crowding the schools there. The fact of low profile of Chinese were used against them as they don’t spread wealth around like Great Gatsby did. NYT is good at channeling the outrages and backlashes to the comments as they publish one commenter probably more than 10 times ( Susan from Seattle), from 10 years visa to immigration, berating Chinese for taking over the local housing, schools, and country. Previous week I wrote a comment when Thomas Friedman criticizes Israeli Prime Minister for the coming speech to joint session of Congress, I wrote saying it was an insult to Obama and Presidency, if the Democrats have balls they should boycott the speech, of course it was not published. Three days later on the paper it said Vice President will not attend the speech, and there were talks by Jewish democrats about boycotting the speech. So much for free speech, while those racial attacks and attacks on China being authoritarian were published multiple times. When I read the article I pretty much anticipated the backlashes. For buying those houses costing from a few to over $10 million, one has to be not even from 1%, by more like 0.1%. I doubt most Americans can dream of owning one, but human nature being what it is, Chinese are easy scape goats. For most Chinese Americans here not from the 0.1%, from those illegal ones working to pay off their debts to smugglers to Silicon Valley IT workers, expect the backlashes. I just hope no baseball bat attacks this time.

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