A weekend of fun:
Saturday: Maryland Day at UMD, bubble tea on Rt. 1, and the aquarium in Baltimore
Sunday: a half-day visit in Philly, followed by some shopping in New Jersey.
The best part: my blackberry didn’t even buzz once.
Ah—-the big, bad Chinese government is at it again, ordering ordinary, helpless and innocent citizens to change their names. Or should I say, the NYT is at it again, reading something into nothing, so long as the something fits their stubbornly narrow-minded way of looking at China.
One thing is for sure — given how much Anna loves horses, she probably wouldn’t have minded such an odd name. But it really takes an incredible amount of affection for horses to be named Horse Triple-Horse.
One reader’s comment (from a Professor at Stanford, no less) is particularly worth a read:
This is a fascinating story which first appeared in the Chinese press about two years ago. It appears that, in this American version, two important features have disappeared, both of which would have undercut the subtle tone of authoritarianism and Orwellianism had they been included.
First, as a number of commenters have pointed out, this policy has precedent in the non-Communist, non-Chinese world. Japan implemented a similar policy more than a decade ago, as have countries whose languages use the Roman alphabet. Let’s not forget that, despite his efforts, the “artist formerly known as Prince” was never successful in changing his name to a non-alphabetic symbol.
Second, this policy did not come as a knee-jerk authoritarian act on behalf of the Chinese state. Before issuing the new law prohibiting parents from naming their children with “rarely used characters” the state teamed up with China’s leading producer of computer fonts in order to remedy the problem (which incidentally, also affected entire towns whose names also contained infrequently used characters). The company, started at Beijing University, was instructed to produce an updated set of fonts for those characters that were not found in standard computer databases. Through this process, hundreds of names that were once impossible to type, digitize, etc., were added to the database. It was only after this first phase of the project that the prohibition was put in place against using other rarely used characters in the future.
How much less uniquely draconian would this whole story sound if readers knew that (a) there are strikingly similar policies in non-Communist countries elsewhere in the world and (b) that prior to promulgating this new law, the Chinese state actually made a great deal of effort to accommodate people and towns whose names contain rarely used characters?
Thomas S. Mullaney
Department of History
— Tom Mullaney, Stanford University
Anna tackling a 4×4 puzzle at 2 years and 8 months, a little more than a year ago. She’s now almost 4, and loves jigsaw puzzles more than any other toy (perhaps with the exception of her horses).
Everyone should pay taxes, from WSJ. Interesting stat from the article: people making “almost 26% of the [total national] income . . . pay only 0.6% of the income tax.”
Who reads this stuff for run, really?
从种子开始, 在窗台上种了大半年的辣椒, 小白花开了无数又谢了无数, 就是没有结果, 小南都学会了介绍: “这个辣椒, 光开花, 不结果”, 没想到今天早上小南刚坐到饭桌边就大喊: 辣椒结果啦—-. 一看, 可不是么, 不知道什么时候结了一只小小的辣椒.