2010年10月9日 星期六

Maybe I’m just a huge dick,

but I think Liu Xiaobo is dumb.

Congratulations and all that, but let’s be honest here.

I don’t read Evan Osnos, but here you go,

“I think my open letter is quite mild,” he told me. “Western countries are asking the Chinese government to fulfill its promises to improve the human-rights situation, but if there’s no voice from inside the country, then the government will say, ’It’s only a request from abroad; the domestic population doesn’t demand it.’ I want to show that it’s not only the hope of the international community, but also the hope of the Chinese people to improve their human-rights situation.”

(emphasis added)


(And I’m going to forgive the shorthand about 西方國家 as THE ONLY PART OF THE WORLD THAT CARES ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS because, well, it’s shorthand. But it’s the opposite side of the coin of all the nonsense that puts all this obsession on “Western” shit, particularly the Nobel. And China did already win the Nobel. (Maybe they should be a little more talkative about why all the other “Chinese” winners had long ago acquired foreign citizenship before they won. I know, being poor sucks.) So who is the “prostitute claiming to be a virgin” after all?”

I don’t know if Liu is dumb or people just say things like that, but c’mon. You don’t lose games when you get to set the rules. Wikipedia presented an interesting case for China. You didn’t have some “foreign company”, you had something of a stateless, non-profit organization. China didn’t want to be caught up in an editing war, or any other kind of war, with a group that just kind of wants to do generally good things, particularly one without a profit motive or real national roots. So, what did they do? Same thing they do with Oxfam, they just kind of block them (or never let them in in the first place) and replace them with their own shit. Once their own shit is all set up and has kind of captured the market/mindshare, and no real threat is posed, sure, the HK chapter can hang out in China as long as it doesn’t make a fuss. And that’s why you get lovely situations like Wikipedia Unblocked in China for All Languages But Chinese.

The point is the government will say whatever it wants, or it will say nothing at all. That’s the joy of being the government. Being the government means you never have to say you’re sorry. You don’t have to answer to anyone. You don’t even have to listen to anyone. That’s why the saying is “It’s good to be the king”, not “It’s bad to be the king.”

I’m a bigger fan of the “You do something because you believe it’s right.”

The gentleman will observe regular order and sit down!

I really hope it’s not that kind of bone-headed thinking that sets back any sort of progress, and leaves Grandpa Wen as the leading (and soon to be departing) reformer.

“I often say that we should not only let people have the freedom of speech. We, more importantly, must create conditions to let them criticize the work of the government," (from link above)

The translation from the English is open to debate (ok, it’s wrong, there’s no 更重要, there’s an 而且. And yes, in this case it makes a giant difference, but who the fuck checks A languages anyway when you don’t really care.), but he quite literally does say that he often says this (我經常講一句話), which if true, would be somewhat incredible.

Anyway, Wen is so dangerous he even has to censor himself.

“The people could not even listen to the words of their premier. Even he himself does not have freedom of speech.” (from the link above)

Reform is Hard

I wish I were anywhere but here right now.

So, this is the blowback. You can put lipstick on a pig, and people can ooh and ahh at your fancy spectacles, but if you ask them what they really think, they’ll tell you they don’t respect you, (read: hate you) and at the first chance they’ll spit in your face. If money can buy anything then I guess you guys are going to need some more money, because these people don’t seem to want to be your friends. You didn’t really think you’d get the Olympics for nothing, did you?

“I mean, I’ve got this thing, and it’s fucking golden. And I'm just not giving it up for fucking nothing."

And because any asshole can write or say anything they want, I will now provide something that a google account can’t (I dare you, try using google translate for things besides the always risky Dutch to English, oooh, scary.)

Great liberties were taken with the translation below, and I didn’t really edit it, because I don’t get paid for this, and it’s hard, and I have stuff to do. Maybe I’ll feel more call of duty or faithfulness tomorrow.

Why are we so obsessed with winning a Nobel?

by: Huang Xiuqing


Every year when they winners are announced we always have this thorn stuck in our side. This year, besides Yang Zhenning's (Chen Ning Yang) vigorous calls and the weak rumblings of some bloggers, the vast majority of Chinese people couldn't care less about Nobel Prizes. While some believe our country has matured, our completely dejected and resigned expression is just like our attitude toward the national soccer team. Most people don't talk about it, don't watch it, don't listen to it and don't care about it.

The truth is, the government wants a Nobel far more than regular people do. It needs to prove that Chinese people are intelligent, that the system of government used is good and that the education system is successful. It's just like the Olympics, they wanted to prove that they weren't still the sick man of East Asian. However, winning a Nobel has turned out to be much tougher than they expected. At this point their desire has turned to desperation and they're progressively more willing to do anything to get a prize. But exactly how many people are really thinking about why we're not winning a prize?

Yang Zhenning is our country's academic hero, but he's become a little bit over-excited lately. Last year he said China would win a Nobel Prize within 20 years. This year he said we would be able to do it in 10 years. Unfortunately, that's not exactly how the uncertainty principle works. Do we really have to pretend we don't know the root of our problem? I think we're just playing dumb, so let this idiot help you out a bit: our education system has problems. Not small problems, giant, fucking problems. The Nobel Prize is a trivial matter; the survival of our people is an important one.

Teaching is not taming animals. Besides teaching our kids to be obedient, what exactly should we be teaching them? This seems to be the question no one is willing to answer. Training people to be obedient animals isn't difficult. We're able to train lions and tigers to be obedient, people, obviously, are quite a bit easier. From an evolutionary perspective, this "taming" follows genetic changes. Two traits compete until one triumphs over the other. Those peoples that were relatively lacking in suspicion and wildness were made turned into subjects by other peoples. I'm not trying to be alarmist, our failure to win a Nobel Prize is simply a sign of the crisis we are facing.

Qinghua and Beijing University are the two best universities in China. For decades nearly all our best and brightest, including our Olympic Gold medal winners, have studied at these two schools. Regular people assume you send in the best and out come the Nobel prizes, the Newtons, the Einsteins and the Gates'. What we get now is you send in the best, a group of perfectly obedient students, and you get out a group of perfectly capable professionals. In response, the University presidents and the government officials working on education are united not in their shame, but in their pride: "Look at the progress our graduates have made!" Wasn't it Yang Zhenning that said the basic science education that Chinese universities are providing is a pinnacle of success?

There's no doubt that one of these years someone from our country will step up on stage and accept a Nobel Prize. I hope they don't come from Qinghua or Beijing University. I hope they aren't some genius our country specifically tried to create. I merely hope they are someone who hasn't been completely tamed. If that happens, our leaders will finally be able to look at how our education system operates. They'll finally be able to do some deep thinking about it, and yes, hopefully, start on some comprehensive reforms.

Li Zhengdao (Tsung-Dao Lee) once said, "What Chinese science currently lacks is successful role models. I believe the mark of a successful role model isn't in whether they can win a Nobel Prize, but rather that they will be able to inspire us all to search for a new, correct way to educate people."