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Posts Tagged ‘2008 Summer Olympics

Why do I post often about China?

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Dalian birdviewImage via Wikipedia

I don’t know if viewers of this blog click on my about page. So here is a short bio.

In Oct 2004, while living in Dalian, China I married my dear wife Wen Yuan (Chinese version) who is now and has since August 2005 been known as Emma Wen (English version). I lived in Dalian for a year and engaged with parts of that community by teaching English in a top primary school and business English in a private school and a Chinese software company. In the latter cases my teaching focused as much on North American and IT culture as on the English language per se.

I can safely say that I have several Chinese friends/acquaintances in Dalian.

I have always studied history and today I can’t think of a history story as fascinating as China’s. In many ways I am a contrarian and I saw positive things in China, which I have balanced in my mind against the negative things that were all to obvious to me while I lived there.

However, I deplore the attitude of so many Western critics of China, who seem to be unable to raise their eyes or open their ears to other than the obvious negative stereotypes about China. And then take cheap shots at China and Chinese people pandering to Western prejudice towards China and Chinese people.

It’s a gigantic country in population, physical size and the sheer energy and obvious emotional resiliency of its ordinary citizens. Their forefathers/mothers/brothers/sisters have been starved to death due to neglect from its own government, victims of political violence from outside and interior political forces, lived in circumstances of national humiliation for most of the 19th and 20th centuries and yet today the majority of Chinese people are proud of their country, the achievements of its form of government and the overall success of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. But the picture isn’t all rosy, especially for Chinese people.

So I have been more focused than ever on commentators, westerners in China and Chinese inside and outside of China, whose views are so very accessible on the blogosphere.

I was especially impressed with this blog posting about negative reactions to a column I have mentioned here written by David Brooks in the NY Times, “Harmony and the Dream”. James Fallows, whose views about China and other subjects I have a lot of time for, is a key figure in this post.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/08/18 at 09:39

Interconnectedness, or it’s either cleaner air in Beijing

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and more global warming, or enough polluted air to balance the causes of global warming. The 2008 Olympics have some interesting side effects and here is the link.

But to Veerabhadran Ramanathan, an atmospheric scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, the sporting events are just a sideshow to the real excitement: air pollution studies.

– – –

That means that as developing nations like China clean up their conventional air pollution — as the world is seeing now in Beijing — it could paradoxically release one of the last restraints on global warming. “How large and how rapid global warming is going to be over the next few decades may depend on how fast we unmask the pollution,” says Ramanathan. “That’s the uncertainty we’re trying to narrow down.” It’s a scary thought: in making our air cleaner, we could be making the planet warmer.

Beijing Smog Cleanup_ Has It Worked? - TIME.jpg

So the next time some know-it-all or political blowhard announces he/she has the solution to our pollution dilemmas, just tell him to take many steps back. In our world almost all is interconnected. Make one worse and the other suffers. But what is more upsetting, make one better and you can make the other worse! Simple solutions are the best and least expensive, but they aren’t obvious.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/08/16 at 08:14

Now that it’s Day 5 at the Beijing Olympics

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IOC President Jacq...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

and Canada’s Olympic athletes have yet to place any higher than 5th overall in any event and I was wondering what to say. Then I read Buzz Bissinger and his backstory comments in NYT.

I especially relate to this thought:

“Why is winning the only thing that matters?” asks Sey. “There must be some national crisis of self-esteem for us to push so hard for these medals. Otherwise why would you need it?”

Because that’s SportsWorld. Which is also why upon further review, I’ll stick with the Beijing pollution index and the blue sky index and not watch women’s gymnastics. I will no doubt miss out on some of the best performances of the entire games. But that’s the trade-off when you’re just not a fan of child abuse.

In China where almost everything is about $$$$$$$, being an Olympic champion is the magic pathway to wealth and national respect. So they don’t think much about a nasty detail like child abuse and consider it simply wrong headed to see things that way. It’s the price they must pay to achieve their material dreams.

In Canada, I expect that we are just too nice and affable (weak minded, or full of self-esteem) to be ready to pay any price to just win at the Olympics and in other stuff too, heh!

Or try to show our best national face by exchanging one pretty child for the other with the beautiful voice but to ordinary look!! We don’t cheat in Canajun!

But we are great at partici-paction and being gritty losers!

BTW in case your looking for nasty backstory on China, click here!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/08/13 at 11:48