From a wikipedia entry, a strawman is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument which was not advanced by that opponent. ↩
First, it’s actually amazing how many people criticize “Tiger Mom” without actually reading what she wrote.
More details on this later, but let me just say that Chinese children are not born or brought up to be mindless robots. Plenty of them get into trouble, plenty grow up to disobey and challenge authority. Tiger Mom is about challenging a child’s autonomy. Amy Chua’s own 2 daughters questioned everything she made them do. In challenging the child’s autonomy, the child must struggle to strengthen his/her own will and discipline. Without self-will and self-discipline, autonomy/”individualism” is weak and useless. My parents never tried to “suppress” my autonomy. On the contrary, they always insisted to push me to learn to do the right things on my own initiative.
[Editor’s note: the English version of post was first posted on Huffington Post and can be found here; and the Chinese version can be found on Guancha.cn here]
SHANGHAI — A few weeks ago at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Shinzo Abe made a bold pitch to Asia to buy in on a new type of Japanese leadership. According to Mr. Abe, the peace that is at the foundation of the Asia Pacific’s unprecedented growth can no longer be guaranteed. Without naming China by name, Mr. Abe warns of a new danger that looms on the horizon. The Asia Pacific needs Japanese leadership and a new affirmation of “international law.”
These are heavy words for uncertain times. But should Asia buy in? In his speech, Mr. Abe talked extensively about The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, declaring his government’s strong support of the Philippines and Vietnam in their claims against China.
Some think this is just a purely economical issue. The Taiwanese students are not happy with the trade agreements agreed upon but not yet signed into law between the Mainland and Taiwanese side. This is understandable. College graduates in Taiwan has had a tough time getting (good) employment this past several years (decade?). Many – unfortunately – have come to feel protectionism – legal protection from globalism – is the best way to “compete” in the global economy.
However, this is oversimplification. If you listen to the speeches and talks within the protest, you have no doubt this is about partisan politics between KMT and DPP – and also emotional politics invoked against the Mainland. As I noted earlier in a comment in another thread, the main impetus of the protest is not about economics, but about the uneasy unsettled status of Mainland-Taiwan relations. The real reason is unification/independence politics.
But if this is all there is to the protest, I’d not write this post – as there is not much for me personally to write about. It’s just about normal democratic politicking – built upon base politics, misinformation, distortion, emotional rants, hateful or divisive rhetoric, and what I might call ethno/religious/identity politicking.Continue reading Taiwan’s Student Mob?→
That’s what I said to my parents-in-law who asked me to explain the “market” behavior that turns on every bit of news.
To the ordinary people, American or Chinese or anyone else, the “market” is hard to explain/understand. That’s because it really is nuts/bonkers/crazy/insane/irrational. This is NOT some “rational market”, because this “market” of today responds to opinions of those who claim to know. But do they really know? Or are they merely seeking to influence the outcome with their opinion?
Recently, Zack brought to our attention a great article at Asia Times by Thorsten Pattberg, who is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies at Peking University. Pattberg dedicated his life to study Chinese philosophy, political thoughts, and culture in their original meanings. He concludes:
Western people are curious like all the people of the world. If someone gave them Chinese taxonomies, they would look them up, familiarize with them, and internalize them. They would stop calling a junzi a (British) “gentleman”, or a (German) “Edler”; instead they would call a junzi just this: a “junzi”.
To put “culture” back in a more economic perspective: Nations should compete for their terminologies like they compete for everything else.
Zigong inquired, “What if everyone in a village despises a person?” The Master said, “It’s not enough. It would be better if the best villagers love and the worst despise, this person.”
There’s no one more emblematic of Chinese wisdom than the ancient Chinese sage, Confucius (Kong Zi). His legacy as a philosopher in Chinese history is unsurpassed and his influence still seen even two and half thousand years after his death. The spirit of his ideas can be felt in the words, actions and future hopes of the Chinese people despite the fact that much of the influence has been diluted during contemporary times.
Whenever a for-profit – or even non-profit – organization professes to do good, to be a society’s guardian – as Google has – I feel queasy. It’s not that I think Google (or more generally corporations, NGOs, charities, even churches) is inherently evil. It’s just that no non-government entity owes society at large a fiduciary duty 1 per se, as governments do.
Take as a case study Google – that self professed guardian of Freedom.
The purpose (legal duty even) of a corporation is to make money for its shareholders. The obligation of non-profits is to their sponsors and donors … and incestuously to itself. The duty of churches is – well if you are pious – to God, although often a God who cares only for a segment of society, who may be so hateful of the rest as to condemn them all to eternities of hell. ↩
One of the most influential people of the twentieth century, but who is almost unknown by name, is a man named P.C. Chang (1892-1957). He (along with Charles Malik) were the two principle drafters of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, one of the most influential documents of the twentieth century.
Zbigniew Brzezinski is a well known political scientist and the media often gives him opportunities to voice opinions on foreign policy. How deserving is this accorded credibility? Well, though I have not read much from him, from the looks of this article he wrote in foreignpolicy it would appear that his competence as a expert on international affairs is grossly inadequate and, moreover, because that incompetence is combined with influence, it makes him very dangerous too.
As regular readers of this blog may know, we are fans of Eric X. Li. In this video below at the Aspen Institute, Anand Giridharadas (of NYT) interviewed him in front of a live audience. As Giridharadas said at the introduction, Eric indeed shakes the foundation of prevailing Western views present in the room. I especially liked his confident and forthright answers to a shaken audience towards the end. Eric characterized the Western peddling of values with universality – (in my view, a form of intolerance, really) – and the Chinese non-interference and acceptance of each culture’s values is in fact pluralism – IS SPOT ON. The video is a bit over an hour, but we highly recommend it.
In a previous post I talked about the Liberal tradition (that is, the explicit and formal human rights framework, not to be confused with how people often use the term to refer to a political or economic “left” or being “progressive”) as being a byproduct of religious, political and other kinds of oppression in the west. I also talked about the importance of instituting rule of law and rights protection for China in the coming years in the comments section.
However, I always have had serious reservations about the Liberal model on philosophical grounds.
This blog will essentially be a second part to the important discussions Allen and raventhorn started about democracy. I will present a philosophical discussion so that we may better think from a different and deeper perspective about this notion than everyday people may be used to by looking at its fundamental structure.
This blog will be a continuation of the interesting dialogue started by Oli on human rights and China. I agree with Oli that Chinese culture does have considerable resources to take into account concerns raised by many human rights discourse. The value of human rights is universal and ancient. Many such values, though implicitly already there in Chinese culture, may be accounted within a modern Chinese cultural framework. Continue reading Human Rights Revisted→
After reading DeWang’s recent post on Dan Harris’ post titled “Chinese Students In America. It’s Bad Out There”, I couldn’t but help to saunter over to China LawBlog to have a look – and boy, was I in for a shock! Here is what appears to be an intelligent person – a practicing lawyer (ok, I may biased, maybe most lawyers aren’t that intelligent, after all) – spouting what looks to me to be hate epithets towards a specific group of people.
Zhang Weiwei was a translator to former Chinese leader, Deng Xiaoping. We have a prior article (translated from Chinese) of his arguing there is a progression for which ‘democracy’ can be achieved, but more than that, China should borrow and adapt practices that are useful for China’s own conditions. In this interview (use this link if the embedded video below doesn’t show) with Al Jazeera (h/t Ray), Zhang provides a ‘Chinese’ response to strongly held notions in the West about “multi-party democracy,” explains how China is advancing her ‘model’ through localized experimentation, and details what he means by the ‘civilization state.’ (See also Martin Jacques.)
The following analysis came via William Hooper at the Oligarch. Much of it resonates with me. It is in response to the latest politics between the U.K. and the European mainland where U.K. is decidedly against Germany’s and France’s efforts in dealing with the Euro financial crisis. Hooper’s characterization, eloquently, of U.K.’s latest actions is apt too, in my opinion, of the prevailing mindset in the U.S. mass media towards everyone else:
Once someone seriously looses sight of everything except their own self interest, they become a “wild beast” held in check only by “fear of punishment” not “shame”.
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.
If you check the definition of 阴阳 in Wikipedia, you will see the following :
“In Chinese philosophy, the concept of yin yang (simplified Chinese: 阴阳; traditional Chinese: 陰陽; pinyin: yīnyáng) is normally referred to in the West as “yin and yang” and is used to describe how polar or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn.”
And “Yin yang are complementary opposites that interact within a greater whole, as part of a dynamic system.”
A big part of the visit will be Dalai Lama’s participating in the symposium “Buddhism and Neuroscience: A Discussion on Attention, Mental Flexibility and Compassion,” with faculty and staff from UCLA’s Semel Institute.
Both UCLA and Harvard are my alma mater, and I have the highest respect for both. But it is one thing for UCLA or Harvard to sponsor a controversial figure like the Dalai Lama, but quite another to sponsor controversial figures in the name of science. Thus, if UCLA or Harvard were to sponsor Osma bin Laden – or even go back in time to sponsor Hitler, I’d be fine. It’s part of the process of pushing the boundary, if you will. But doing this dubiously in the name of science – this shocks my conscience.
Why cannot UCLA have picked Joe Shmoe, my neighbor, as the face of the symposium? Do not the characteristics of attention, mental flexibility and compassion not exist in all of us? Why does it have to be the Dalai Lama and why with such fanfare? Is this symposium about science or politics?
This symposium has gotten me thinking: is UCLA still a venerable institution of education and science, or has religion, politics, and cult personality bankrupted it? Should I be ashamed to be a UCLA Bruin? Is it time for me to sever all my financial ties with the institution, diverting my annual contributions to better causes elsewhere?
There is a lot going on in the world. A natural disaster in Japan. Ravages of war from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestinian territories, to now Libya. The world is still in a recession. There is global warming. And population is still set to reach 9 billion by 2045.
Still I think there is still time for some comic relief. Obama made his NCAA picks last week. And the Dalai Lama recently announced (as brought up recently in the Open Thread) that he is retiring from politics.
Before this year really gets going (yes I know I have been out of commission from blogging for a while, a state which may continue for just a while longer), I thought I’d post my own little post reflecting on the Wikileaks incidient – which I think illustrate important issues relating to “freedom.”
The controversy over Wikileaks has evoked strong emotions on all sides here in the U.S. On the one hand, you have those like the U.S. government preaching responsibility, claiming that publication would harm the lives and U.S. interests around the world – that being responsible is necessary to preserving our liberty. On the other hand, you have those like Assange clamoring free speech, raising the specter of a government that can never be trusted.
In the midst of these debates, many have understandably come to see freedom as a balance between competing needs. This is however a mistake.
Thanks to our reader Chops for alerting us to an article out today in the San Francisco Chronicle by Jeff Yang. It turns out, the original article was really a Wall Street Journal spin or creation, including the title. As I concluded in my prior post, Amy Chua is not that same mother portrayed in the article nor is her book. Yang writes:
In my prior post, “The 2010 USCC Annual Report is ‘truthless, prejudicial’,” I ranted about the 2010 USCC Annual Report and reiterated Chinese Foreign Ministry call that the report was “truthless” and “prejudicial.” Some of you expressed privately that I should address the report seriously, especially, as this is an “official” position taken by a branch of the U.S. government.
Some of you also responded, since the U.S. is not interested in addressing the systemic problems locally and rather blame foreigners (China especially in this report), then let the U.S. march forward with her madness. In the long run, it will only result in America’s decline. Let it be, so the argument goes.