Thursday, December 1, 2011

Costs in University of California - 加州大学的费用

Recently, many students occupied campuses to protest the ever-rising costs in University of California, such as Berkeley and Davis.

The products of these excellent public universities are a great deal for sure, but the fast rising prices are becoming a heavy burden to the families.

The costs in the ten campuses of the University of California (UC) vary a bit, but in general, are in the similar range.

For example, website listed the costs at UC Berkeley as:


Cost of AttendanceIn-state: $32,635
Out-of-state: $55,513
Tuition and Fees
In-state: $12,835
Out-of-state: $35,713
Room and Board
Books and Supplies
Other Expenses

In UCLA, the costs listed on are:


Cost of AttendanceIn-state: $31,554
Out-of-state: $54,432
Tuition and Fees
In-state: $12,686
Out-of-state: $35,564
Room and Board
Books and Supplies
Other Expenses

For the perspective, we should keep in mind that the California State Median Income for FFY 2011/2012 for a 4-person family is $78,666 [source: US Department of Health and Human Services].






在校费用本州学生: $32,635
外州学生: $55,513
本州学生: $12,835
外州学生: $35,713



在校费用本州学生: $31,554
外州学生: $54,432
本州学生: $12,686
外州学生: $35,564

四人家庭的FFY2011/2012估计平均收入為 78666美元 [來源:美國衛生與人類服務部]

Occupy Cal 14 November 2011 _ 7951
Students protesting at UC Berkeley 学生在加州大学伯克利抗议

Monday, October 31, 2011

Emergency Medical Help - 医疗急救


然而,当我看了这个事故的录像,也被那个善良的女人是绝对错误的帮助方式吓坏了 - 她没有试图检查小女孩是否已受伤,直接拉她的手臂,试图让她站起来。

帮助人的最好的办法是,首先确保受伤或生病人的安全,然后打电话叫专业医疗救援,并陪同与受伤或生病人,直到医务人员到达。 移动伤者和病者,往往加剧伤情或病情,并导致更多的损害。

最近,我目睹了在一家美国咖啡馆里的标准救援工作。 一个下午,不拥挤的咖啡馆里。一个她二十出头的年轻女子,突然失去了知觉了。幸运的是,她先倒在柜台上,然后才跌倒木地板上。在她旁边一个女人立即检查她的呼吸和明显的伤害,并要咖啡馆工作人员拨打紧急帮助电话。几分钟后,女孩恢复了意识,帮助的女人不停地问她问题,她的状况,并要求工作人员给她一杯水。 数分钟后,救护车赶到,帮助的女人走开,让专业人士来照顾年轻女子。医务人员询问了更多的问题及她的病情。 其间,她再次失去了知觉。因此,医务人员决定带她到医院,以作更多的检查。 担架带进来,但他们不是把她从地上抬起来,而是轻轻地把她滚到侧身躺着,然后把担架滑向她身体下方,然后把她滚回来,躺在担架上。之后,他们进行她抬走了。


Dirge / 輓歌 / Elegy
Dirge / 輓歌 © Matthew Felix Sun

The heart wrenching story of how Little Yueyue of Foshan, China was hit by cars and ignored by passers-by and finally was helped by a rubbish collector and eventual death has generated much soul searching in China. 

However, when I watched the video of this story, I was also horrified by the way the kind-hearted woman's absolutely wrong way to help - she tried to lift her up by her arms to make her stand up, without checking if the little girl had been injured or not.

The best way to help, is to ensure the safety of the wounded or the sick, then call wait till professional medical help, and stay with the the wounded or the sick and wait till the medics arrive.

By moving the wounded and the sick, it often exacerbates the problem and causes more damages.

I recently witnessed a model rescue effort in a cafe.

It was in the afternoon and the cafe was not crowded.  A patron, young woman in her early twenties, suddenly lost consciousness and fell.  Luckily, she fell on the counter first and then on the wooden floor.  A woman next to her immediately checked on her breath and obvious injury and asked the staff to call emergency help.  A few minutes later, the girl regained her consciousness and the helping woman kept asking her questions regarding her conditions and asked the staff to bring a glass of water.

A few more minutes past and the ambulance arrived and the helping woman moved away so the professionals could tend the young woman.  The medics asked more questions regarding her condition and then she lost consciousness again briefly.  Therefore, the medics decided to take her to hospital for more check up.

A stretcher was brought in.  Instead of lifting her from the ground, they gently rolled her to her side and slid the stretch underneath her and then rolled her back onto the stretcher.   After that, they carried her away.

China, beyond its collective soul-searching, needs to educate people more on how to help without causing more damage.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chinese Name - 中文名字

One thing Chinese people insist on knowing from anyone of Chinese descend is his or her "Chinese Name".   It is also quite true that many Chinese Americans sport two names - one English and one Chinese, and these two often don't match since they are not phonetic transliteration at all, which is the way Chinese people use for people of not Chinese lineage, such as Kennedy, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Obama.  Walking near Chinatown and one is confronted with numerous flyers for mayoral candidate for San Francisco, flaunting their Chinese names, which means absolutely nothing to me, since I only know them by their official (English) names and cannot match their coded Chinese names at all.

One thing Chinese mainlanders need to be aware is that many Chinese Americans have no Chinese names at all, such as the children of one of my college friend.  Or some people preferred to be known by their English names, or someone, when naturalized, have given up their Chinese given names and adopted a new name, thoroughly western.

To insist on calling them with their discarded name is rather disrespectful.  People need to be more sensitive.

More than once I had to tell the custom officers in China what my "Chinese name" was, even though I do not officially have one.  I have one name, which is western sounding and the "Chinese name" should be its phonetic transliteration.  But they would have none of such argument and I had to move the name I used when I was in China from the column of "Former Name" to "Chinese Name".  It felt rather being forced upon and unpleasant.

中國人总想知道華裔的“中國名字”。的确,许多華裔有兩個名字 - 一個英語和一個汉语名字,他們往往互相对不上号,因为他们不是拼音音譯,就象中國人民提及沒有中國血統的人的方式,如肯尼迪,里根,布什,克林頓和奧巴馬。在唐人街附近的散步会遇到眾多舊金山市長候選人傳單,炫耀他们的中國名字,但這些名字意味于我毫无意义,因為我只知道他們的官方(英文)名字,而这些名字和他们的中國名字对不上号。

。还有一些人只乐意用他们的英语名字,或有人歸化时,放弃其汉语名字, 采用徹底西方化的英文名字。


不止一次,中國的海關人員要我告訴他们 我的“中文名字”,即使我事实上已沒有这样的名字。我的名字是西方化的名字, 它的对应的“中文名字”應該是它的拼音音譯。但是他們听不进這種論點,因而我不得不將我的“曾用名”,挪到我的“中國名字”一欄。这是强迫的和不愉快的经历。

Chinese Election Flyer _ 4433

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Travel Books - 旅游书

Years ago, when my parents visited me they saw many tour books in the bookstore and when my dad learned that I know a couple who worked for a major tour book publisher, my father was intrigued and when he returned to China, he mentioned the connection to his friends in the government and they proposed to me to invite the couple to my home province and hopefully by treating them royally, they'd win their friendship and they'd write favorably about my home province, so as to spur the tourism.  Of course, I talked my father out of this - things are not done here that way.  Tour industry reviews are to be independent, without interferences.

This reminds me of Chinese people's amazed and favorable reactions to the simple and cheap meal Vice President Biden and his entourage had in Beijing, and to the fact the new American Ambassador to China Gary Locke arrived in Beijing with family on coach and carrying their own luggage like any touring family.

In China, officials look and act like officials.

Things are very different in China and in the US.

幾年前,當我的父母,来美国看我, 他們在書店裡看到許多旅遊書籍。當我爸爸知道我认识一對為一個主要旅遊圖書出版商工作的夫婦,我的父親很感興趣,當他回到中國,他向在政府的朋友们提到这对夫婦,他們向我提议邀請这对夫婦到我的家乡省,希望通過款待这对夫婦贏得他們的友誼,这样他們會寫对我的家鄉省有利的评论,以推動旅遊業發展。當然,我劝说父親不要参与 - 在美国事情不是这样一做的。旅遊行業的評語是獨立的,不受外界干擾。

這使我想起中國人对两件事的驚訝和良好的反應,一为副總統拜登和他的隨行人員在北京吃的簡單和廉價的膳食, 及美國駐中國新大使駱家輝乘普通舱抵達北京,與家人和自己攜帶行李, 像任何旅遊的家庭一样。


在中國和美國, 事情有很大的不同。

Journey / 旅途 / Reise
Journey © Matthew Felix Sun

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

(Wedding) Gifts Registration (结婚)禮品登記

In America, people give gifts in many occasions, such as graduation, birth of a child, or a wedding.  For big occasions like wedding, many engaged couples register with department stores, listing the items they would need in their married life.  Friends and family who can choose their gifts from the list, which usually have different price levels to suit people's varied ability to pay for gifts.  Of course, people still can send gift they deemed more appropriate not included in the gift registries.

For a wedding, the gifts can be brought to the wedding or separately, usually with identifications so the bride would know whom to thank for the gifts her spouse receive - it's a custom that bride should write thank you card to the people who send the gift within reasonably time frame.


,通常包含​姓名​標識,讓新娘知道感謝誰的禮物 - 習俗是新娘應該合理的時間框架内的禮物的亲友寫感謝卡

Red Flowers / 红花 / Rote Blumen
"Red Flowers" - Oil on Canvas © Matthew Felix Sun

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Buying Books and Paintings from Friends or Asking for Free

Recently I read some comments online saying that amongst Chinese people, when one has a book published, many friends and acquaintances would ask for a free copy.  The comments saying that in the West, people recognize the time and energy authors put into the work and usually would not ask for such free copy.

The comment was, though a bit sweeping, more or less on the mark.  Indeed, recalling my life in China, I remembered that many people I know who had published something usually gave free copies.  It would be insulting to ask friends to buy one of the books.

This is the same as painters, mostly in Chinese style water color on rice paper, and calligraphers.  People would make great efforts to ask accomplished painters and calligraphers to give them something.  Considering the execution time in that style is rather short - they practice hours upon hours to perfect a stoke, usually they would oblige, after some deflection.  This kind of obligation is very hard not to comply.

In order not to devalue their commercial works, usually they would state explicitly on the painting or calligraphy that the work was given to such and such exalted person and that little statement usually greatly dent the price of this work if it ever reached market.

In the US, I did give something away to great friends but not often.  My family members and friends insist on paying me for my labor.  I have attended book-signing events when my friends had books published and we  buy a copy of the book at full price and have our published friends sign the books.  Nowadays, even have a book or two published doesn't improve one's financial standing.  It's also our humble way of supporting our friends. 






Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Medical Records Protection 保护病例资料

In the much publicized Murdoch bugging scandals, one thing was perhaps quite lost to Chinese people
was the significance of the story reported by ABC News: "The Sun [one of the newspapers owned by Murdoch family] went much further when it allegedly stole Brown's family's medical records."

In the U.S., when a person takes medical leave, he or she even does not need to tell supervisor what troubles him or her, while in China, illnesses are openly discussed and commented upon and there is hardly any concern for privacy, not just amongst families and friends, colleagues are usually informed of every details of the ailments.

This is not to say that an illness is automatically concealed in the U.S.  People often choose to share certain information to let their immediate colleagues to understand their issues but usually it was expected, implicitly or explicitly, that the information should be kept confidential and it would up to the patient to choose what they want to disclose and to whom.  Medical records are very personal and private as well.

Therefore the Sun's behavior so unacceptable in the west and rather not an issue in China.


美國廣播公司新聞報導:“太陽報 [默多克家族擁有的報紙之一] 走得更遠時,涉嫌偷了布朗的家庭的醫療記錄。”




 Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing_7144

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cheese in Asia 奶酪在亞洲

I just read some story about the rise of the cheese consumption in Asia, propelled by American food chains with their offering such as cheese sandwiches and pizzas. 


Cheese is the best thing I learned to enjoy in the U.S.  In China, the dairy product I ever had was milk and whipped cream.  In the U.S., particularly in the food-crazed California, we have huge varieties of cheese, with all kinds of textures, hardness and creaminess and flavors.

奶酪是我在美國學會了享受的最好的食品。 在中國时,我吃过的乳制品只有牛奶和掼奶油。在美國,特別是在讲究食品的加利福尼亞州,我們有极多品種的奶酪,拥有各種材質,硬度,奶油度和风味。

The only Chinese food I can think of to compare is dumplings.  The most famous dumpling restaurant in my home city, Shenyang, 老边饺子馆 (Old Bians' Dumpling Restaurant), boasts several dozens kinds of fillings.


Dumplings from Old Bians' Dumpling Restaurant, Shenyang, China

Cheese can be a tough sell to Asian countries where pastures are not widely available and dairy productions are not daily staple food.  Its distinctive flavor and smell can put off some people and maybe even upset someone's stomach - someone claims that Asians lack a certain enzyme to digest cheese.

奶酪可能较難推銷給沒有很多牧場的亞洲國家,那里奶製品不是每天主食。奶酪的獨特的風味和氣味让人排斥,甚至可能造成消化问题 - 有人称亚洲人缺乏消化奶酪的酶

I fell in love with cheese immediately and appreciate good cheese very much, but am not shy away from cheesy food generally offered in fast food chains. Quality not quantity.


When my parents visited me from China about ten years ago, I was a bit concerned with their ability to appreciate it cheese or even to be able to digest it, particularly my mother who does not like taste of butter much.  However, they enjoyed the good Parmesan cheese I served with pastas very much and I felt confident enough to serve them more varieties of safe (less smelly) kind cheese. 

I don't doubt that some Chinese and other Asian people have trouble in digesting dairy product but many don't and they can learn to appreciate good cheeses just as well as westerners.


Cheese _ 4084

Cheese _ 4082

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

中美物价 - Is the Price Right?

There is a well-read article circulating online, comparing the prices in China and in the US and UK.  The zest of the article is that the prices in the developed countries are much lower than those in China.  Many Chinese readers expressed their frustration over this "fact". 

However, the prices quoted in the article are often skewed or simply wrong.  There are many facts were not known to the author of the article who admitted that he only spent two weeks in the US to investigate the prices.

1) Many prices prices listed are inaccurate. Many prices quoted were seen in shops and restaurants operated by Chinese, or in open market, while prices quoted in China were often in the department stores.  The article mentioned $0.99/pound pork or ribs.  Meat costs that low is extremely hard to find in the US if not impossible.  The quality of the meat must be miserable as well.  In the US, pork costs usually in the range of $5-8/pound.   The article even mentioned the price for BMW Z4: $21,000.  I did a quick search and found the sticker price of $43,655 - $57,500 ( ).

2) there are historical reasons for price differences.  US is a fully developed country and the percentage daily costs are lower than the developing country as China.
3) There are many costs in the US unknown to many Chinese, such as personal income taxes.  A textbook in the US often cost $100-200 while in China they are printed on cheap paper and cost on the par of mass-market paperbacks.  In the US, medical insurance cost is very high and the article failed to mention that.
4) Many luxurious goods Chinese crave are luxurious goods to Americans as well, such as Coach handbags.
5) The low costs in the US is not sustainable.  It is supported by the huge national debts.  Relying on consumers for economic growth is like drinking poison to quench thirst.  The low tax for the rich is not a good example either.
6) The article mentioned that all the houses in the US can be called a villa.  It is not true.  The quality of American single family houses are quite low. 
7)Article also mentioned that in China, if one is well-educated, one needs to own a house (flat) otherwise he/she would not have any dignity.  Nonsense.  In the US, many house-owners take out 30-year loans and often re-finance down the road.  Once the houses are paid off, they are often near the end of the life.

In short, low prices in American have many political and historical reasons, but should not be copied.

Of course, from a consumer point of view, is unfair.

1)文章列出的好多美国物价不准确。华人的店, 基本是脏,乱,差,物价当然低。猪肉,排骨 0。99/磅, 除了赤贫,谁敢吃? 那个价现在在华人店也没有。猪肉一般是5-8 美元/磅。宝马Z4价格: $43,655 - $57,500, 不是文章说的$21000 ( )。
3)美国人有好多其他消费,文章没有提, 比如个人税收。美国的一本教科书,一般价格$100-200。医疗保险费用高。

4)好多中国人喜欢的,对美国人讲,也是奢侈品,比如 Coach 包。
5)美国人的低物价,造成美国国力衰退。美国人的低物价是中国买的美国国债支撑的, 而且持续不下去。靠消费引导经济增长是饮鸠止渴。美国富人的低税率也不可学。
6)美国的住房并不好。所谓别墅也不准确。你们看到美国龙卷风, 水灾的报道,也应该看到那些"别墅"。



Liquor in Chinese Supermarket

Monday, June 13, 2011

Restaurant Menus - 餐馆菜单

In the food obsessed San Francisco region, many restaurants have very small menus and they change often, to reflect the fresh ingredients available during the season.

Over the years, I have learned to appreciate short menus, which often indicate the chef would pay close attention to every dishes on the menu.  This type of menu can be found most often in the so-called Californian cuisine restaurants but now even some Chinese restaurants are catching up the trend, and no longer offer those several dozens of cooking methods of entirely interchangeable pork, shrimp, chick or beef - unfortunately they still persist in many generic and lackluster restaurants, being everything and being nothing.


多年來,我學會了欣賞簡短的菜單,這往往表明廚師將密切關注菜單上的每一道菜。這種類型的菜單經常出現在所謂的加州食品餐廳裡,但現在連一些中餐館,也已趕上潮流,不再提供幾十種烹調方法,完全可以互換的豬肉,蝦,雞或牛肉- - 但仍有一些通用和無光澤的餐館堅持使用那些,什麼都是,什麼都不是的傳統菜單。

Fruits / 水果 / Früchte

Related blog / 相关题目: Ordering Food in Restaurants 点菜

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chinese College Graduates Abandon Pets 毕业生离校 大量宠物遭抛弃流浪校园

It has been reported by Chongqing Evening Newspaper that in universities, every year many pet dogs and cats got abandoned by their previous owners who graduated and moved away from campuses.

The picture below shows one of such abandoned cat in Southwestern Normal University.  The staff had tried to chase away some abandoned dogs, for fearing of attacks on students and some staff started to feed those lovely cats.

据报道, 每年一到学生快毕业的时候,学校的流浪猫狗就越来越多。近日,重庆晚报记者接到不少高校学生的电话,反映校园流浪猫狗越来越多。

下图是这样的一只被遗弃的在西南政法大学的流浪猫。工作人员担心流浪狗伤人, 曾赶走一些流浪狗, 而有的工作人员则开始喂一些可爱的流浪猫。

Source: People's Daily

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Getting Up - 起床

Getting up in the morning is often hard for young people.  People who need to get up on time in order to go to school or work often find reliable means to wake them up.

In the US, independent people often use alarm clock to woke them up, while in China, young people often rely on their elders to wake them up.

Not only old people need to wake up their adult child(ren) who live with them, they are to wake up visiting nieces and nephews and their families.

As the manufacturer for the world, alarm clock can be easily bought in China and it won't cost much.  The dependence of the young people on their elders is rather unseemly.

Perhaps there are tiger-mothers and wolf-fathers in China, but they are, actually rare. 






Grandma / 祖母 / Oma
© Matthew Felix Sun

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day in China - 母亲节在中国

Mother's Day, like Christmas, is a new fad in China.  Besides making or buying gifts for their mothers, Chinese kids were made to do something rather a bit strange.

It was reported that in a small town in Jiangxi Province, one hundred school pupils were rounded up, along with their mothers, to form a formation in the middle of school playing ground, and were required to wash their mother's feet, to demonstrate their love toward their mothers.

In Taiwan, a principle of a middle high school washed his 93-year-old mother's feet in public.

Many students did not feel comfortable in doing so.

The same news segment also reported that in a high school in Guangdong Province, 600 middle school students participated a so called Adulthood Ceremony, by kneeling down to their parents to receive a "Family Letter" to mark their passing into "Adulthood".

Facing some criticism regarding the kneeling, the principal countered that kneeling is the highest honor in China and if children don't knee to their parents, how could they express their gratitude towards their parents?

It's nauseating to see the demeaning of the young and lacking of dignities of all participants.

母亲节, 和圣诞节一样,是中国的一个新时尚。除了为其母亲制作或购买礼物,中国孩子们被要求做一些奇怪的事情。

据报道,在江西省的一个小城镇里,一百名小学生们, 连同他们的母亲, 被集合起来在学校操场形成一个方阵, 为他们的母亲洗脚,以证明他们对他们的母亲的爱。



同一个新闻还报到说,在广东省的一个高中,600名初中学生,跪在地上从父母手中接收"家书",以通过所谓的成人仪式, 纪念 "成人"。


对年轻人如此贬损和所有参与者的尊严缺乏, 让人很恶心。

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What (Not) To Bring As Gifts - (不)要带什么当礼物

While cleaning my drawers, I encountered some gifts I brought with me from China to the U.S. near twenty years ago.  I had never found an appropriate opportunity of giving them out.

They are quite proper gifts actually - small tea cups, fans, silk handkerchiefs, clay figurines, postcards, embroidered table decorations, etc.

In general, it is very hard to give gifts in the US, particularly those exotic gifts we brought from China -- they are often in appropriate, because of the style, taste or value.

In the US, people often give small gifts such as flowers, chocolate, etc. to show appreciation, and gifts from China often seem too serious.  For major events, such as wedding, brides and grooms usually register with department stores and list what they desire as gifts.

More over, the gifts with distinct Chinese flavor can be hard to sell - Americans who do like those exotic items are in clear minority.

I remembered that I tried to give my first academic adviser a set of Great Wall postcards (very cheap and appropriate) but still he declined after carefully and respectfully viewed all the postcards.

For any new comers to the US from China, I recommend bring several gifts, mostly little ones, beautiful but not screaming Chinese.  A few more distinguished gifts can serve in the right moments, which can only in many years' time.

Generally speaking, when you give gifts to people you are not familiar with or have higher social standing, often, you are making them embarrassed.


它们其实是很适当的礼物 -- 小茶杯,风扇,丝绸手帕,泥人,明信片,绣花装饰表等

在通常情况下,很难给美国的礼物,特别是我们从中国带来的异国情调的礼物- 往往因为风格,品味或价值不适当。

在美国,人们常送鲜花,巧克力等,以展示赞赏或感谢, 但来自中国的礼物,往往显得过于庄重。对于重大的事件,如婚礼,新娘和新郎通常百货公司登记,列出他们希望得到的礼物。

进一步,具有鲜明的中国风味的礼物也很难出手 -- 美国喜欢那些外来品的确为少数。



总之,当你送礼物给不熟的人, 地位比你高的人, 往往让他们很尴尬。

Red Flowers / 红花 / Rote Blumen
Red Flowers
Oil on Canvas
© Matthew Felix Sun

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Politics and Profits

Thirty-five years after his death, Mao Zedong still enjoys respect or even reverence from many quarters in China. For example, in April 2010, Telegraph reported that Chinese protestor throws ink at portrait of Chairman Mao:

An angry Chinese protestor has attempted to throw ink over the famed giant portrait of Chairman Mao Zedong that hangs in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, police in China have confirmed.

Police wrestled the man to the ground last weekend after he threw a bottle of ink at the portrait, a potent symbol of Communist Party power which hangs on the Tiananmen gate tower where Chairman Mao declared a new republic 60 years ago.

"At around 13:35pm, April 5 2010, a man was put under control after he threw a plastic bottle of ink towards the Tiananmen gate tower," the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau confirmed in a statement faxed to The Telegraph.

The audacious attack echoes the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest when three young men threw ink-filled eggs at the portrait in a gesture of defiance against China' Communist ruling party that resonated around the world.

The three men, Lu Decheng, Yu Zhijian, and Yu Dongyue, received some of the harshest sentences in the crackdown that followed the violent crushing of the protests, being jailed for 16 years, 20 years and life respectively.

That kind of disrespect to the Mao could not be tolerated by Chinese government, if it was out of political motivation.

However, if it was done in the name of development, the story could have a different ending.

Technews reported that 
A real estate company wrecked the statue of the 'Great Helmsman' -- China's most powerful figure between 1949 and 1976 -- while re-developing a district in Longlou town in Wenchang region, reported Hong Kong's South China Morning Post.

Erected in 2008, the 9.9m white marble statue had attracted many visitors, China News Service (CNS) reported.

"Developers now wield the greatest power of destruction in China, tearing down houses and flattening martyrs' mausoleums in the name of development," another (Internet) post remarked on"
Indeed, in the name of development, developers, often combined with power of unchecked government and ruthless mafia, wrecked homes for profit at well.


海南省、文昌市 Wenchang, Hainan Province

The demolition of Mao's statue earned some condemnation from China's leftist corners but it is doubtful any developers involved would suffer the fate of those angry protesters who "defaced" Mao's giant portrait.

Profits tramps politics.  Call it progress.

Mao Zedong Statue in Shenyang, China - Matthew Felix Sun's Drawing_7339
Mao's Statue in Shenyang

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Alleged Han Han's Article: "Goodbye! Ai Weiwei" Goes Viral - 网传韩寒被和谐的文章:再见!艾未未

中國最著名的藝術家艾未未的消失引起了國際社會的強烈抗議,但在在中國的反應,主要是沉默和冷漠。然而,有一篇关于這個敏感的話題的文章,據称由中国最有影響力的博客韓寒撰写,已在网上疯传。韓寒的博客上無法找到此文,這可能意味著这篇有明显韓寒風格文章的作者是其他人,借用韓寒響亮的名字,以吸引注意力; 或他的文章已經被政府的網路控制器 "和谐"(消音)。

The disappearance of the most famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has caused a great outcry in the international community but the response in China was largely muted and indifferent. However, there was an article, allegedly written by the most influential Chinese blogger, Han Han, on this sensitive topic, has gone viral.  This article cannot be found in Mr. Han's blog, which can mean either the article was written by somebody, clearly in his style, else and used his famous name to attract attention; or his article has been "harmonized" (censored) by the government's internet controller.

對於那些誰不熟悉韓先生,請閱讀我以前的博客:韓寒-极有影響的中國博客 Han Han - Influential Blogger in China

Han Han 韩寒For those who are not familiar with Mr. Han, please read my previous blog: 韓寒-极有影響的中國博客 Han Han - Influential Blogger in China.

这篇文章可以在很多地方找到,比如Literary City“文學城“。下面是原文字,及我的英語翻譯:

The article can be found in many places, such as "Literary City".  Below is the full text, followed by my English translation:








译文 Translation:

Han Han: Goodbye! Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei is now unable to speak, who amongst us will speak for Ai Weiwei?

Yesterday, we heard that Ai Weiwei was arrested. As an ordinary person, I am very worried. I can not imagine that someone like Ai Weiwei would also have been arrested. But remembering that I am in China, and remembering Chen Guangchen, who was under house-arrest, and Ran Yunfei, who was facing prosecution, it all made sense. Here is a country that laws cannot be used to shield us.

Ai Weiwei, fat, big beard. Like us, he loved to fiddle with some strange stuff, and love to climbe over the [internet] wall to look for news. Never hesitated to give things away to friends, and loved to shoot true true stories. Pursuing truth, against falsity. Followed Grandpa Deng Xiaoping's call of "pragmatism". Made great contribution for the State's Olympic Games.

He had previously been restricted from traveling, and beaten by the police. But being detained for more than 24 hours, this is the first time. With my limited social knowledge, I can guess that this time it would not be the same as the past. Perhaps, in a few days, the famed barrister Zhang Sizhi will have one more client. From now on, we can no longer see superb works of art, or read uninhibited replies on Twitter. The few ceramic sunflower seeds in my drawer might be feel lonely, but the culture T-shirt on my body, with the print of brick would again appear in the street, stubbornly.

I do not want to appeal for anything; I have no power to call for anything. Counting from the founding of current dynasty in 1949: the anti-rightist, the Cultural Revolution, Severe Punishment of Crimes, student unrest, stability maintenance - each period, there were countless people walked into prisons with their consciences, and there were also countless people had their heads cut off for their consciences. Why is the five-star [national] flag red? It was dyed by the blood of those countless people who still had consciences.

Ai Weiwei had spoken for petitioners, for the victims of the melamine milk powder, for the primary school victims in Wenchuan, Sichuan earthquake. Ai Weiwei is now unable to speak, who amongst us will speak for Ai Weiwei? If we no longer have the courage to tell the truth with conscience, then, I truly believe that the slogan every dynasties had been striving to achieve "Ten-Thousand Years, Our Emperors!" have finally realized. Finally, I would like to use the lyrics from a song by Li Zhi to end this article: "People do not need freedom, this is the best of the epoch."


If this article written by Han Han or not is not very important now; it is very important that it exists and its great impact.

艾未未行为艺术——腾飞不忘挡中央 (performance art)
艾未未行为艺术——腾飞不忘挡中央 -- 在他手中, 一个叫草泥马(操你妈)的玩具, 因此, 此图可以被读成 [草泥马(操你妈), 挡中央(党中央)].  几年前, 一个叫草泥马(操你妈)YouTube视频, 造成YouTube在中國被屏蔽.
Ai Weiwei Performance Art - Taking-Off Did Not Forget to Block the Center (挡中央 (Blocking the Center), homonym 党中央 (Party Center)) -- in his hand, a toy named Cao-Ni-Ma (Grass-Mud-Horse, a homonym with a most insulting Chinese cursing phrase, Fuck Your Mother, therefore, the whole images can be read as Fuck Your Mother, Party Center.  Several Years ago, a YouTube segment of Cao-Ni-Ma (Grass-Mud-Horse) caused the blocking of YouTube in China.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Imperial Mausoleums of Mao Zedong and his Successor Hua Guofeng - 毛澤東和他的繼任者華國鋒的皇陵

Chinese emperors love to build impressive mausoleums.  The First Emperor, Qin Shihuangdi built vast underground terracotta soldiers to guard his still hidden mausoleum, and earned his world renown.  Other emperors were not far behind.  Below is the tomb of a Han Dynasty's Emperor Liu Qi:

中國帝王愛建令人印象深刻的陵墓。秦始皇建了巨大的地下兵馬俑守衛他的仍然隱藏着的陵墓,並獲得了世界聲譽。其他皇帝也不甘落後。下面是一個漢代皇帝劉启 (? 音译)的墓:

Han Dynasty Emperor Liu Qi's Mausoleum
Han Dynasty Emperor Liu Qi's Mausoleum

However, mausoleum building didn't end with the empire.  The provisional president of Republic of China Sun Yat-sen had his mausoleum built in Nanjing (Nanking):


Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum, Nanjing (Nanking)
Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum, Nanjing (Nanking)

The de facto emperor Mao Zedong got his, courtesy of his hand-pick care-taking successor, Hua Guofeng (1921-2008), in the heart of Tian'anmen Square:


Mao Zedong's Mausoleum Under Construction - Portraits in Center: Mao Zedong and his hand-pick successor Hua Guofeng

Mao Zedong's Mausoleum Inauguration Ceremony (September 9, 1977)

Not long after the completion of Mao's Mausoleum, Hua was pushed out of political posts by Deng Xiaoping et al. and largely forgotten.  However, after his death in 2008, there is a movement to re-evaluate his achievement and to crown this effort, his home province Shanxi, built a gigantic mausoleum for him (See pictures below).  The mausoleum occupies an area of 100,000 square meters (over 14 soccer fields), with total investment: about 100 million yuan (US Dollar 15.3 million).

完成毛澤東紀念堂後不久,華被鄧小平等人从政治職位上推下去, 幾乎被人遺忘。然而,在他去世於2008年之后,兴起了重新評估他的成就的運動,包括他的故鄉山西省,為他建立了一個巨大的陵墓(見下列圖)。陵墓佔地面積10萬平方米(超過 14個足球場),總投資約 100億元人民幣(1530萬美元)。

His mausoleum story came in a very interesting time - recently there were many reporting in China on people's inability to pay for tomb lots.

他的陵墓故事是在一個非常有意味的時間嚗光- 最近有許多報導说在中國人们無力支付的墳墓费用。









Saturday, March 26, 2011

Self Determination 人民自決

According to People's Daily, on March 22 2011, during a routine press conference, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu claimed that Libya's future should be decided by the Libyan people themselves.

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956, a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the government of the People's Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956, was crushed by the invading Soviet army.

According to some sources, the Chinese leader Mao Zedong played an important role in Khrushchev's decision to suppress the Hungarian uprising. Chinese Communist Party Deputy Chairman Liu Shaoqi pressured Khrushchev to send in troops to put down the revolt by force.

So far, Chinese government has not apologized to Hungarian people and government.

True, current Chinese leaders are not Mao and Liu.  But if they truly believe in the self determination of people, inside and outside China, they would have offered such apology long ago, and welcomed true democracy everywhere.

據人民日報报道, 在2011年3月22日的例行新聞發布會上,外交部發言人姜瑜稱,利比亚的未来应该由利比亚人民自己决定。

1956年匈牙利革命,一個全國性自發活动, 反抗匈牙利人民共和國政府及其蘇聯強加的政策,從10月23日持續至11月10號,被入侵的蘇聯軍隊粉碎。




Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chinese Authors Accused Search Engine Baidu Stealing - 中国作家指控百度搜索引擎盗窃

Search engine Baidu, which has a 75 percent market share in China, after the exit of Google, has long been accused of supporting piracy through its web site.  Its mp3 search has been accused of sharing hundreds of thousands of illegal songs hosted on third-party sites.  Just two weeks ago, two of China's biggest websites, the search engine Baidu and online retailer Taobao, were named as "notorious markets" in a new U.S. government report for allegedly supporting pirated and counterfeit goods.

Recently, more than 40 writers have signed a letter to accuse Baidu of providing their works for free to download on its online library Baidu Wenku, without their permission.  The author said "Baidu has become a totally corrupt thief company" that runs a "marketplace of stolen goods."

Copyright protection is still relatively new in China and the emergence of eBooks definitely made it a greater challenge.  Considering it is still a very thorny issue in the U.S., it is no surprise that it would be very difficult to combat such theft in China.

Baidu Shuku

百度搜索引擎,占有自谷歌退出後的百分之75的中國市場份額,一直被指責通過它的網站支持盜版。它的MP3搜索被指責,導致幾十萬非法歌曲在其第三方網站上被分享。就在兩個星期前,兩名中國最大的網站,百度搜索引擎和網上零售商淘寶,在一個新的美國政府的報告上分別命名為 "臭名昭著的市場", 涉嫌支持盜版及冒牌貨品。

最近,40多個作家簽署了一封信,指責百度沒有他們的許可, 在其網上圖書館百度文库,提供他们的作品免費下載。筆者說: "百度已經成為一個完全腐敗的小偷公司,運行一个"贓物市場"。

版權保護是在中國還是相對較新的问题, 電子圖書的出現無疑使其成為更大的挑戰。考慮到在美國,它仍然是一個非常棘手的問題,毫不奇怪, 在中國, 對付這種盜竊將是非常困難。

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Book Group - 读书俱乐部

Reading / 讀 / Lesen
Reading, Oil on Canvas
© Matthew Felix Sun
Just finished reading a book for the "assignment" of my book group, which I joint about five years ago. Before I lived in the U.S. from China, I didn't know anyone who was associated with of any book group or book club.  It is quite ironic considering that I grew up in a household filled with books.  I remember that when I was little, I never had any toy of my own, but I had books.  The only times I asked for something in shopping streets and would roll in mud if my requests were denied, were occasions I wanted to have some new books.

In China, when people get together, they feast, they play Mahjong, and they chitchat aimlessly.  Discussing a book?  No.  Oh, no, my dear sir.  No.  Chinese nowadays give little thoughts to literature.  Considering any congregation might be viewed suspiciously by the ever-nervous government, it is also very wise not to get together with other thoughtful people and converse intelligently.

剛剛讀完我的書社的“任务”。 我是約五年前加入这个書社的。在我從中國移居美國前,我不认识任何人与任何读书团体或读书会有关。這很具有諷刺意味,因为我生長在一個充滿了書籍的家庭。我記得我小時候,我從來沒有我自己的任何玩具,但我擁有書。唯一時候,我在購物街里要买东西,而如果我的要求被拒絕,我在泥濘中打滾,是我想要一些新的書籍。


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mobile Positioning in Beijing - 北京手机定位

Various media in China recently reported that Beijing Science and Technology Commission proposed to use modern technology to monitor the movements of mobile phone users to facilitate the traffic layout and population management.  As soon as the news came out, it immediately drew attention to civil liberties and personal privacy concerns and other issues.


I searched the Chinese Communist Party's official newspaper People's Daily for such report and found results as shown in the image below:

我在中国共产党机关报人民日报搜索了该报告, 发现下面的图片中显示的结果:

Mobile Positioning 3

However, most of the links to the search results led to only error message pages now, such as the first result Beijing Science and Technology Commission response to "mobile positioning public travel" - which linked to a message: "The Page You Want to See Does Not Exist!":

但是,大部分的搜索结果,链接到错误信息网页,比如第一个检索结果 - 北京科委主任回应"手机定位市民出行":

Mobile Positioning 4

After a bit more carefully worded search, still on People's Daily, I was able to find some archived stories, such as Mobile Locating Makes Citizens Uneasy and It Is Also Unsafe, which was credited to China Economic Times, which in turn, credited the story to Beijing Morning News.  However, I couldn't find such story in Beijing Morning News anymore.

经过一些在人民日报上措辞更谨慎的搜索,我能够找到一些存档的故事,如手机定位公民行踪, 让人不爽也不安,这篇稿是源于中国经济时报,而它又援引了北京晨报。不过,我在北京晨报无法找到这个故事了。

The story gave more details of the proposal tha:


Beijing will based on China Mobile's 17 million mobile phone users data, to establish a "dynamic information platform of people's travel information in Beijing," in order to grasp the population distribution in selected area and the flow distribution at different times.  "In addition to service traffic needs, it will be helpful to population management.  For example, [we can] obtain more comprehensive information regarding the number of people in one region at a time," said Li Guoguang, Deputy Director of Social Development, Science and Technology Commission, Beijing. (March 2, "Beijing Morning Post")

北京将以中国移动的北京1700万手机用户数据为基础,建立“北京市市民出行动态信息平台”,掌握选定区域的人口数量分布以及人口在不同时间段的流动分布情况。“除了服务交通外,对于人口管理也很有帮助,比如某一地区在某一时间的人口数量,通过手机定位获取的信息将更加全面。”北京市科委社发处副处长李国 光说。(3月2日《北京晨报》)
Story continued with people's reactions:

Mobile positioning has such power, one can imagine that when this technology is used on ordinary people, our travel trends, every movement were all in the hands of governmental power. If so, are there any privacy? Of course, the original intention of Beijing's such mobile location is to grasp the number of people in a certain zone within a certain time, at first glance appears to be in the public interest; it is clear that the mobile phone positioning is double-edged sword, people today can use it to grasp the population trends, tomorrow, they can locate the whereabouts of the every one of us; today, the target is a group, tomorrow it may be individuals.

手机定位有如此威力,可以想见一旦用于每个普通人身上,我们的出行动态、一举一动无不尽在公权力的掌握之中。果如是,还有何隐私可言?当然,北京此 次手机 定位的初衷,是为了掌握某一地区某一时间内的人口数量,乍看起来是为了公共利益,但很显然的是,手机定位是把双刃剑,今天可以掌握人口数量来定位,明天则 可以另一个借口定位我们的行踪;今天定位的是群体,明天就可能定位个体。

Although Li Guoguang said that in the process of data services, privacy protection will be strictly enforced.  The question is, who is watching the governmental power?  Morality is unreliable, to rely on the power to monitor themselves is also unreliable.


In contrary to the general mobile positioning on only a few mobile phones, Beijing's new proposal is to target as much as 17 million mobile phone users; once the user's personal information got stolen, the consequences could be disastrous.


Mobile location will no doubt increase the scope of supervision of public authority, the privacy of citizens face greater challenges, which make people unhappy and this is disturbing.

The original articles are shown below:


Mobile Positioning 1

Mobile Positioning 2

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Social Secretary and the Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name - 社交秘书和不敢言名的愛

Image source:
It has been widely reported, such as in San Francisco Chronicle, "The White House made history Friday by announcing the appointment of Jeremy Bernard as the first male, and openly gay, social secretary."

Many other media reporting, inevitably mentioned Mr. Bernard's being openly gay.

When I first read this, I felt a little uneasy.  Why does his sexual preference matter for a man taking on a typically viewed as women's job?  Then, I accepted that this is part of the story and the reporters need to tell the whole story, if they are to report on anything.

This story even made it to the Chinese Communist Party's official newspaper - People's Daily.  It was an exhaustive report, including the background the the duty of what a social secretary of the White House does.  However, it had a glaring hole - it failed to mentioned the fact that Mr.s Bernard is gay.

However Chinese people or government want us to believe that China is a progressive place, same-sex love there is still "the love that dare not speak its name".

据如舊金山紀事報和其他媒体廣泛報導,"白宮週五宣布任命傑瑞米·伯納德作為第一個男性, 公開的同性戀者, 总统社交秘书,而創造了歷史。"


當我第一次讀到這里,我感到有點不安。為什麼在这个男性首次担任通常被視為女性工作职务的故事, 他的性傾向問題值得报道?思考一会儿,我承認這是故事的一部分,需要記者报道,如果他們认为故事值得报道。

這個故事,甚至登到中国共产黨的機關報-人民日報。那是一個詳盡的報告,包括白宮社交秘書的背景和責任。但是,它有一個明顯的漏洞- 它沒有提到一個事實,即伯納德先生是同性戀。

不论中國人和政府怎么希望我們相信中國是一個進步的地方,在那里, 同性愛還是 "不敢言名的愛"。

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Shark Fin Debate in San Francisco - 旧金山鱼翅的辩论

San Francisco Chronicle recently reported, Calif. shark fin bill would ban Chinese delicacy, that
A law that would ban the sale and distribution of shark fins in California, preventing hundreds of restaurants from serving an ancient Chinese delicacy, was introduced Monday, igniting an emotional debate between conservationists and Asian leaders.

The bill, introduced by Assemblymen Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, and Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, would halt all California trade in shark fins, which are used to make Chinese shark fin soup, a tradition at banquets among Chinese people around the world.

Assembly Bill 376 says the California market for the expensive dish is helping drive rampant illegal shark finning in international waters. The practice involves cutting off the tails and fins of living sharks, which are then thrown back into the ocean to suffer and die.

The shark fin trade is believed by many scientists to be responsible for a catastrophic collapse in the worldwide shark population.

The proposed law, coming on the heels of a similar ban passed in Hawaii last year, faces considerable opposition from Chinese American restaurant and market owners, sea food distributors and fishermen.

State Sen. Leland Yee, who is running for mayor of San Francisco, called AB376 an "attack on Asian culture."

Mr. Yee's argument is pure nonsense.  Asian culture doesn't lie on shark fins.  Many Asians never had any chance to sample a drop of shark fin soup.  It had usually be consumed by the super rich and powerful, till perhaps Costco jumped in.  Consuming shark fins had no inherent connection to Asian costume, and it is not a culture.  Even if there was some linkages to certain traditional ways amongst a group of people, it has to change.  Chinese people used to bind women's feet, had emperors, and men had concubines.  Would Mr. Yee oppose the changing of those as well? 

I was glad to see that not all people with Asian heritage agree with his self-serving argument.  SF Chronicle continued: "Shark fin has lost a little luster among some Chinese Americans who are aware of the environmental consequences."

I unknowingly had a serving of shark fin soup more than 10 years ago and had avowed never to have it again and am trying hard to persuade my parents and other relatives to stay away from it.  I hope more enlightened people would realize that some "traditions" must change.

Huan Da Yu, a Chinese herbalist (left), and David Lu conclude a news conference opposing the proposed legislation at the Far East Cafe by eating shark fin soup.     中醫 Huan Da Yu 和 David Lu 以在遠東咖啡廳吃魚翅湯来结束反對立法建議的新聞發布會。
Photo: David Paul Morris / Special To The Chronicle


由州代表Jared Huffman(民主党-San Rafael), and Paul Fong(民主党-Cupertino)提交的該法案,將停止所有加州鯊魚鰭貿易,鯊魚鰭是用來做魚翅湯的,一個各地世界中國人宴席的傳統。




州參議員Leland Yee,正競選舊金山市長,稱AB376為 “攻击亞洲文化。”

Yee先生的說法純粹是無稽之談。亞洲文化並不在存在於鯊魚鰭。許多亞洲人從來沒有任何機會來尝一滴魚翅湯。魚翅湯通常被超級富豪消费,直到Costco 之类加入后变得更普及。魚翅不是亞洲习俗不可分的成分,它也不是一種文化。即使有它与某一些一群人的某些傳統方式有聯繫, 它也必須改變。中國人过去让婦女缠足,有皇帝,男子纳妄。 Yee先生也反對改变這些吗?



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rich Food Worry - 豐富食物的擔心

San Francisco Chronicle reported that half of the blood donations in China immediately after lunar new year had to be discarded due to high fat content.  People consume huge amount of high protein and fatty food during the celebratory period.

I spoke to my parents recently and they worry about how to preserve huge quantity of food - fish, meat, poultry, etc.  Their two freezers are full and the temperature is rising so the food in the balcony will not stay frozen much longer.  I asked if they want to give some food away, they said that all the relatives have plenty and share the same worry.

My next question was would they give some to the poor and my dad was dumbfounded by my question.  Once he realized that I was serious about giving the abundant to the poor, he started to state obstacles - people don't give away food, people are leery of food given to them - they even worry about the safety of those purchased from stores let alone free from strangers, the poor had help from the governments, etc.

It is sad to realize that there is still no tradition of sharing with the less fortunate there.  In the US, many people donate goods and time to the poor (though I would rather see no one falls into that category, but that is unrealistic).  Many NGOs help to facilitate such charitable efforts as well.

China is a very tough country to live in for the poor - there are many working poor and unemployed and the helps they got, survived skimping from various levels of corrupted official, were dismal.  Chinese government also does not like organizations not sanctioned by itself.

It is hard to combat poverty if the better offs would not see the needs or usefulness to helping the poor.  US is doing better now but it seems the rich and powerful here are determined to learn from China, and siphon more money from middle class to their ever expanding coffers.  

Vegetable Garden / 菜园子 / Gemüsegarten


我跟我的父母最近通话时,他們擔心如何保存大量的食品 - 魚,肉,家禽,他們的兩個冷凍機等都以满了,随氣溫上升,在陽台上的食物也不會凍結更長的時間。我問他們有没有想把一些食物分给别人,他們說,所有的親戚都有很多食品,並有相同的烦恼。

我的下一個問題是,他們會不會把一些食物送给一些相对贫窮的人。我的爸爸觉得我的問題很不着边际。当他意識到我是認真时,他開始狀设障礙 -- 中国人不乱送食物,人們对從商店里購買都懷疑安全性, 对陌生人的赠与食物,他們会更擔心安全,窮人有政府的幫助,等等。


窮人在中國是非常艱難的 - 許多工作窮人和失業者得到了的從各級貪官污吏剋扣后点滴幫助,總是差強人意。中國政府也不喜歡未获它批准的組織。


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Price Tags and Store Return - 价格标签和商店退货

Yesterday, I prepared a work-related thank-you gift and took off price tags from the merchandises we were to send out.  I only learned not to reveal the costs of gifts in the U.S.  When I was back to China and tried to remove price tags from some gifts I was about to send out, my mother felt that it was rather peculiar.  There, people would rather leave the price tags on and let the receiver know the value of the gifts, therefore notice that how they were values by the gift givers.

Price tags in the U.S. can also facilitate returns of unwanted merchandises back to the stores.  In the U.S., within the stated periods, usually 30 days, with receipts and original packages, unused merchandises generally can be returned for full value, unless they were on sale when purchased or have been discontinued.  Without receipts, a store credit might still be issued for the returned goods.

In China, it would be VERY difficult to return anything, with or without receipt.  Customers who dare to try to return any goods, run the risk of being ridiculed and scolded and perhaps even cursed.  Mega stores with capitals from overseas are doing better job there now.


在美國的價格標籤也可以加快商品退货。在美國,在規定期限内,一般為 30天,只要有收據和原包裝,未使用商品一般都可退回的全部價值,除非他們在折价購買或已經商店下档。如果沒有收據,貨物仍然可能退掉,以换得商店信用。


Kampf / 抗爭 / Kampf
Kampf, © Matthew Felix Sun

Thursday, February 3, 2011

我没有说话 - I Did Not Speak Up

"First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out
because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out
because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out
because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me."

This well-known speech by Pastor Martin Niemoller, First They Came..., now inspired a new version in Chinese language websites:













I Did Not Speak Up

When they closed down Blogger,
I did not speak up,
because I did not write blogs;

When closed down Youtube,
I did not speak up,
because I did not watch online videos;

When closed down Twitter,
I did not speak up,
because I did not write tweets;

When closed down Facebook,
I did not speak up,
because I did not make friends;

When closed down Google,
I did not speak up,
because I used Baidu to search;

Finally, I found out that
I have no place to speak up.

More Social Media Unavailable

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dessert - 甜食

The Sarah Palin vs.Michele Obama saga over dessert was quite an eye-opener for me, who grew up in China, where dining table dessert was a concept rather foreign.

Palin's ridiculing the first lady's caution on balanced diet was plain silly as we would have expected from her but Mrs. Obama's rationale itself was quite incredulous to me.

According to a Washington Post article,
In fact, the first lady has never suggested that sweets be banned from the dinner table, cafeteria or campground. She says she tells her daughters, Sasha and Malia, that "dessert is not a right" and that meals should be balanced with fruits and vegetables.

What I read in this paragraph was that as long as her daughters eat fruits and vegetables, they'll get their desserts.  I used to think that dessert was served on special occasions rather than everyday implied here.

I did some inquiries amongst my friends and colleagues who was born and grew up in the US on how often they have desserts.  The result was less than conclusive.  Some said that they have it often but not on daily basis yet someone told me that they have dessert everyday, usually with dinner.

Similarly, in China, when there are guests, they were treated with fruits, nuts and tea, instead of crackers, cheese, chips, beer, wine and liquor.  On the other hands, Chinese people used to serve cigarettes too though that practice has been dumped.


佩林諷刺第一夫人的平衡飲食的提议是愚蠢的,与我們对她的期望相符; 但奧巴馬夫人的理由本身却很让我懷疑。




我在我的出生在美國并在次長大的朋友和同事之間做了一些調查,他們吃甜品的频率。其結果没有定論。有人說,但他們常长吃甜是, 但不时每天读有, 而有人告訴我,他們每天吃甜點,通常是晚餐时吃。


Cherries, Pear And Apricot / 櫻桃,梨,與杏 / Kirschen, Birne und Aprikose

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Calendar Time - 日历的时候

When I switched to a new calendar, I always remembered the calendar time in China when I was in middle school.  It was a time China just started to open up to the outside world but in many aspects we were still rather isolated and in the art fields it was very bad indeed.  We had no opportunity to see any masterpieces created by western masters, even in reproductions for decades.  Artists' monographs were very rare if any.

In that environment, calendars opened the window for me to that part of the world.  Every year, from perhaps as early as October through December, my father, who worked in cultural field then, would bring home several dozens of huge rolls of calendars, featuring photographs of landscape, cityscape, traditional Chinese paintings, oil paintings or sculptures by old masters, folk arts, movie stars, and sometimes, propaganda.

I remembered vividly the first time I encountered Rembrandt through the calendar.  It was the first time I beheld wonders as his majestic Juno and melancholic Man with a Golden Helmet.  I was alternatively in awe and rapture.  I couldn't believe that paintings could be so beautiful and powerful.  I had been to many art exhibit before but was largely indifferent to those creations under the influence of socialist realism.

Finally I realized what was true art.

Over the years, the importance of calendar in my life has decreased drastically but I would never remember how profound impact they had when I was in the most malleable age.

Man with a Golden Helmet, Rembrandt
Man with a Golden Helmet, Rembrandt

Juno, Rembrandt
Juno, Rembrandt

當我換到一個新的日曆时,我總是想起在中國當我還在讀中學的日曆時期。那時中國剛剛開始對外開放,但在許多方面還比較孤立,在藝術領域尤其糟糕。在幾十年内, 我們沒有機會看到任何西方大師創造的傑作,甚至複製品。藝術家們的專集如果有的話也非常罕見。