小北的不老歌

Monthly Archive: July 2009

Today

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There’s a band playing in the plaza downstairs today, and Anna couldn’t move her feet when she saw the drum set. When the band was done, the drummer invited her to the stage and let her play with the drums. I snapped a picture with my blackberry. Anna loves musical instruments. She now claims that she wants an oboe when she grows up. I am just glad that it’s not a trumpet or drum set that she wants.

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Since the recruiting season is just around the corner, I thought I’d share one random question I came across when I was going through OCI. Can’t remember whether I heard or read it somewhere, or I was actually asked the question during an interview. Anyhow, the question is this: why would people ever want to invest in the stock of gold mining companies when they can directly invest in gold, the product of these companies? I think the unstated logic behind the question is this: Presumably the price of gold is positively correlated with the price of the stock of gold mining companies, and as some may argue, gold has intrinsic value as a hard currency, whereas the stock certificate does not. So why doesn’t every investor in gold mining companies just buy gold instead if they think gold is going up in price?

I think I have an answer. But this may well be one of those open-ended questions for which there is no “correct” answer, or multiple “correct” answers. What do you think the answer should be? Comments are, as usual, welcome.

Volcano, Violin, Valentine

Volcano
When I came home from work yesterday I was greeted by an ecstatic Anna who dragged me into her room and showed me this. It’s her rendition of a volcano erupting in the ocean. Why would a 4 year old paint an erupting volcano? I have no idea. But she seems happy, so I’ll spare the psychological analysis.

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Anna trying out her new violin. 1/10 size. Not that Ping and I want to be the stereotypical Asian parents. Anna seems to like classical music a lot–she could listen to Bizet and Tchaikovsky all day and hum with the music and pretend-play the violin the trumpet the cello and what have you. She now loves the musical instruments with all the same intensity with which she loved the dinosaurs, the horses, and the elephants that used to be her favorites before the symphony orchestra. On the other hand she seems not at all interested in my Eminem collection.

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Who’s my valentine?

上班

上班闲起来的时候真叫闲,读完了报纸喝咖啡,喝完了上个厕所回来找人聊天,聊完了天回来继续读新闻,后来没有得读了,就复习武侠小说,直到猛然发现居然几天就把《鹿鼎记》和《天龙八部》都看完了,比上学的时候偷偷摸摸在课桌地下读得要快多了。

有活干的时候,其实都很简单,至少低年级的活基本上是熟练工种,第一次做的时候可能不知道在做什么,第二次就明白点门道了,第五第十次就烦了。不需要太动脑子——或者说,要用脑子的地方大多不是真正意义上的法律问题,而是有时要费心去想怎样办事周全些又利索些,或者不明白的事情上哪里去找答案。

Media Relations

The way the Western journalists seem to operate: the Chinese government is guilty until proven innocent, and the applicable standard is somewhere between “absolutely, positively, beyond any doubt” to “just plain impossible”. The recent riot in Xinjiang is yet another example: these journalists’ knee jerk reaction was that the hundreds dead must have been killed by the Chinese military, despite immediately available information that indicated otherwise. The self-contradictary hearsay offered by the exiled dissidents are presumed by these journalists to be more reliable than the account offered by the government based on first hand investigation. It is also amazing how uniform their reportings are when they mention the beating, the burning, the killing in passing but also took care to point out that these minority rioters have legitimate grievances (a point which I do not dispute). On the other hand, to the same journalists, the Han counter-demonstrators are just vigilante mobs looking to kill and destroy, and we don’t get much of a hint of whether they too have their “legitimate grievances.” If the viewpoints were flipped, you’d think this is the work of Xinhua or People’s Daily.

A little over a year ago when the Tibet riot erupted, I was really angry over the biased reporting. now the same pattern repeats itself, and I am not sure if anger is the proper response, because if, as the journalists say, the bias that Han Chinese hold against the Uighurs is deep-rooted, so is the Western journalists’ bias towards China, and I really can’t do to the journalists what the Uighurs did to their perceived racists — bash their heads with bricks, slash their throats in alleyways, or burn their office buildings, and then play the part of an innocent victim in front of others, can I? So I wonder if anything could be done on the Chinese government’s side.

The Chinese government is flush with cash. Not that it should bribe any journalists to violate their so-called professional ethics (if there’s any left of it), but that, with sufficient funding, one could do a lot of legitimate things to improve its own image in the international press. Also, where are our ambassadors, media spokespersons, press secretaries in times of crisis? When the opposition manages to spew venom in an op-ed piece on Wall Street Journal, couldn’t our ambassador write something to set the record straight (and I am sure plenty of US newspapeprs would be willing to publish such a piece in their opinion column). When other countries, such as Israel, face a public relations crisis, their foreign service people in the US from their ambassador down go all out on a media assault: appearing on TV shows, appealing to the American public, writing op-ed articles, etc. So instead of hearing about the events through biased intermediaries, the public get to hear the other side of the story, unfiltered.

I wonder where’s our spokesmen at this time. Keep doing the press conferences, keep issuing press releases, but please, also bypass the intermediary and go straight to the public. Perhaps this is something that our public officials are not used to doing, but to the extent we do care about our international image as a country and as an ethnic group, we must have people who are willing and able to forcefully speak on our behalf directly to the foreign public, especially when the opposition factions are already way ahead in this game.

News

认真学习美国主流媒体对新疆骚乱的报道, 旧华社二零一一年九月十一日纽约电:

[新闻回顾]十年前的今天,美帝国主义的纽约发生了严重的示威和骚乱,导致建筑物的焚烧和倒塌。据美帝国主义财团控制下的媒体报道(编辑注:很好,称美国为“美帝国主义”,下同。另,“财团控制”四字可否用黑体红字?),死亡人数已经超过千人,然而该财团旗下的媒体没有给出伤亡总数中多少是无辜平民,多少是被美帝国主义军警无情镇压的示威人士。(编辑注:此处插入美国警察在骚乱现场的特写图片,突出他们配带的手枪和脚边的尸体,加配文字说明:美帝国主义警察荷枪实弹虎视眈眈,脚边血流成河尸积如山。)

这场运动(和其他所有反美帝国主义运动一样),开始是和平的, 非暴力的。尽管示威者在驾驶过程中造成了一些乘务人员的伤亡,他们还是非常平稳熟练地驾驶飞机在空中游行并呼喊安拉伟大等口号,但随后两座大楼非但拒绝给示威群众让路,还悍然撞毁了飞机,才导致了人员伤亡惨重。

美帝国主义政府无视自己的过错,却又一次在第一时间指责境外势力,声称本拉登在幕后策划了这一起骚乱。本拉登原籍沙特,是一名富商,后因与美帝国主义政府意见不合,被迫流亡,隐居阿富汗多年,现下落不明。另一位持不同政见人士萨达母侯塞因先生,虽然多次重申他没有参与或策划这场骚乱,却已被美帝国主义政府操纵的伊拉克傀儡政府处决。

我们在阿富汗采访到了一名妇女,她怀抱婴儿,楚楚可怜,她对外国记者控诉道:还我哥哥。据记者了解,这位妇女的兄长被美帝国主义政府扣押至今,生死不明,美帝国主义政府也不允许她探望。(据悉,该人被扣押的理由是他试图引爆一驾民航客机——编辑注:括号内文字务必在出版前删除。另,配发该妇女图片,给怀里的婴儿特写,排版时最好放在上文军警照的旁边以产生对比效应)。

由此我们可以看出,美帝国主义政府历年来的政策是惨无人道的,是注定要失败的,哪里有压迫,哪里就有反抗,所以这场骚乱现在发生,一点都不奇怪(编辑注:此处插入多媒体互动插图一幅,简述美国历史上各次种族骚乱。)本社向来不谴责暴徒,应该受到谴责的是美帝国主义政府和它的帝国主义政策。

请读者务必积极留言,根据本社提供的以上信息发表评论。(编辑注:请本社网络审查办的同志注意:符合本社观点的或体现本民族优越感的优先刊发。)

Day 7 – Horses and Whales

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Carriage ride in the woods in the morning. Rockefeller bought much of the island that is now Acadia National Park, created an elaborate system of carriage roads, and donated the island to the federal government. Now the carriage ride has become a must-do in Acadia, much like having afternoon tea and popovers at the Jordan Pond restaurant and going whale-watching from Bar Harbor.

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Anna admiring the horses again. So predictable.

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Took a whale-watching boat ride into the open ocean in the afternoon. What did she see?

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Fin back whales, in the distance.

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Holding whale baleen for the first time.

Day 6 – Jordan Pond and Lobsters

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Jordan Pond is a glacial lake on Mount Desert Island.

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At the southern tip of the lake there’s a restaurant that serves “afternoon tea” with “popovers” on their “tea lawn” overlooking Jordan Pond, as seen here, a tradition dating back to the 1800s. It was still early for afternoon tea, so we opted for a way overpriced lunch instead.

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In the afternoon we hopped on a boat…

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A lobstering boat. We rented the cottage from the captain, a local fisherman, and he took us out on a lobstering trip. If you watch the Discovery Channel, this is basically “The Deadliest Catch”, tamer lobster version.

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Look at what I caught! We probably ate way too many lobsters in the past few days we’ve been in Maine, but seeing how lobsters are caught is a lot of fun!

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Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, viewed from the lobstering boat.