Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Nanking, Armageddon in Retrospect

The most powerful film I saw last few days was undoubtly Nanking.

I didn't have stomach for it. Then I had to.

The basic theme is familiar for a Chinese, the unimaginable crime of the rape of Nanking (Nanjing) committed by imperial Japanese army. The story though is told through a fresh angel, through the lens of group of foreigners who chose to stay and tried their best to protest Chinese civilians by attempting to establish a "safety zone". The events are streamlined with diaries and letters of the foreign observer, intertwined with interviews of actual Chinese victim and Japanese soldiers.

In one of the most powerful interviews, an elder - he was 7 at the time - described how his mother breastfed his infant brother even as she was dying from being bayoneted through the chest. Blood oozed and mixed with breast milk, but his brother was too young to know.

The weight of the events must have been heavy. Minnie Vautrin, Dean of Ginling College, and one of the eyewitness narrators, committed suicide after she returned to the States in 1940. Iris Chang, the author of the book from which this documentary is based on, also gave up her life at age of 36.

It's important to note Nanking isn't an indictment of Japanese people in general. In China today, there are people who are so anti-Japanese, for what they had done and for their lack of sincere apology, so much so that they frown upon the use of Japanese language in public. Hello! the Japanese is based on Chinese characters. Don't hate on the language. There are also people, especially young folks who are so enamored in the Japanese culture. Little do they know some of the pervert-ness enlarged by war is actually in the Japanese culture. For example, raping is tolerated in Samurai culture, sexual discourse of stressfulness is reflected in Hentai.

The sad truth is, the story wouldn't have received the same credibility if it were not told by Westerners, reconstructed from diaries of foreigners of the time. I always wondered why there isn't a Chinese version of "Schindler's List" from Chinese film makers, since many in the West are still not aware of the existence of such crime to this day. The answer given by my friend was, it wouldn't be credible enough for a Chinese filmmaker to do it.

Incidentally, one of the most interesting piece I read over the weekend was the last speech of Kurt Vonnegut, author of Slaughterhouse Five, who died last year. The actual speech was deliver by his son posthumously. I was skipping through the pages of Armageddon in Retrospect in a book store, then I couldn't put it down.

Did I mention bookstores are the best place to read things you normally wouldn't have patience of?

It was filled with insights, wits and humor. Kurt Vonnegut mused at the state of humanity, offered his opinion on jazz as "safe sex on the highest order", advised on young aspiring writer to use less semicolons ("they are useless except maybe to indicated you have been to college."), remarked on strength of African Americans for "the thing they've been through" and offered religious faith as part of the reason. And yes, he did cite Carl Marx's "opium to a man". [update5/15/08: I just learned there is book club of Vonnegut in Guizhou university.]

In this sometimes madly world we lives, as Kurt points out, a little humor helps.

(ps: Here is an interesting war time film produced by the U.S. War Department. Notice the music used at the beginning of the film? Yup, that later became the current Chinese National Anthem.)

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008


时而细雨 偶尔风急
空气是湿的 人是懒的



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Monday, April 28, 2008

With All Due Respect

Is that phrase the newest hippie thing? Since it irks me how many times I hear it recently.

With all due respect, of course is the most disingenuous, hypocritical phrase of them all. It usually follows with arrogant, disparate languages, as if by paraphrasing with that bit one can safely enjoy discoursing languages not usually socially allowable and deemed rude, yet being perceived with the air of a total gentleman.

Yeah, have your cake and eat it too.

I'd much rather prefer the South Park's way: "All hippies must die".

At least we all know that's a joke, without mistake.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Spring at a Glance

I would love to add to those, time permitting. For now, 200 by 200 size squares seem the way to go.

Update: I just experienced the horror of blogger photo-upload. I've deleted a picture link to move the square around. Now I have no idea where that picture is!!

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

女政要 时尚







乌克兰前总理季莫申科 女性政治家里的时尚翘楚



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Friday, April 25, 2008

Dinner in a bag, Life in a box

Dinner in a bag, Life in a box. Hoorey, the guilty pleasure.

Maybe, at least one can be off the table now. Marlee Matlin was eliminated from Dancing With The Stars. It was an inspiration to watch her dance with virtually no hearing abilities. Maybe I should find time to check out her Children of a Lesser God.

In that other show, it baffles me why Jason the I'm-so-hot-coo-coo still stays in the competition. Oh, and if Brook makes any more of her sad face, I think I'm about to faint.

Oh well, at least NBA playoffs are still going strong.

BTW, that was BBQ wings in the bag.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008




傻啊 当然,最后还不是换了个波斯教主当着?




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Wednesday, April 23, 2008





“要不要留加奶的空间?” 她大概起码问了两遍。走神了。被留写狗血文的作业显然不是什么好事,尽管仅仅是关于网友情感的狗血。






咖啡店靠墙的一面都已经被占据着。几台手提享受着无线上网的快乐。 我找个角落坐下来,开始翻看厚厚的报纸。


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Tuesday, April 22, 2008



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Saturday, April 19, 2008

From Juno to ?

If you use two films to sum up the current election, it's There Will Be Blood on the Democratic side, and No Country For Old Man on the Republican side. - Norman Ornstein on the China Town Hall of National Committee on United States-China Relations

The film that sparks this post though, is Juno, the cool teen pregnancy story. Hollywood may never guessed that the film would stimulate much cultural and political discussion among the Chinese youth. A review on the popular Chinese social website douban, which teems with so called the angry youth and the literate youth, sailed at the idealization and political correctiveness of the picture, apparently in response to the overwhelming adulation of American tolerance on the subject.

Rest assured, the author got her main points right. Juno isn't your typical pregnant teenager, she is ultra cool and wise beyond her age. Nor are her parents. Abortion is still a hotly debated issue deeply rooted in the religious and political spectrum in the U.S.

Case in point, school paper of Yale University broke out a story about an art student deliberately pregnant herself and then miscarry to make a strong statement. Only to be proved a hoax later. The whole parody only shows how the media today is clueless as in lacking common sense judgment. Not to mention the fact that most major news outlets today are under the entertainment division of big corporate umbrella. News programs' pampering of viewer inclination, rather than just reporting purely based on facts, contributed to the perceived anti-China biased that so many Chinese resent of in this election season. While average Chinese might have conspiracy theory about how the news agencies and governments of the West "out to get China", it's mostly news media out to get attention and politicians juggling to get political favor.

But I digress.

We were talking about political correctiveness in Juno, weren't we? While I personally think Juno is more idealistic and personal than PC, PC is certainly prominent in American culture. PC is the American English term for "harmonious society", 和谐社会. (Sorry, Hu jintao. You can't quite apply for patent yet.) PC is designed to appease social tension, at the sacrifice of personal freedom of speech non the less. It is more disguised, and doesn't require a government agency to administer.

However, political correctiveness doesn't extend to outside the nation. So it's OK for Juno to crack a joke about China handing out babies "like how they handing out free ipod. And the audience laughs (I admit I chuckled also.). No wonder China bashing becomes a new fashion when the election is heated.


For their part, many of the Chinese youth don't fully understand these, or very exposed to western style politics. Matthew Forney, a former Beijing bureau chief for Time, thinks young urban Chinese study hard and that’s pretty much it. That's probably not a fair assessment, but I do think youngsters under patriarch Chinese government have a tendency of swinging between over-zealous and totally apolitical. In between, you have also people who are opportunistic or simply naive. In that regard, Chinese education largely failed. One of the flawed product of the system, Wang Qiangyuan, or Grace Wang as her English names goes, shoots into infamous stratosphere her story reaches both NYT and Washington Post. Aside from her other character flaws, Miss Wang certainly doesn't understand what free speech is really about, despite her ambition for politics. Civil protests of two groups of opposite views simultaneously need no mediator, as she so flattered herself. What did she want everybody to "negotiate" about? Shut up and go home?

At home, many Chinese are boycotting French products, with Carrefour being the easily accessible target. While Carrefour might temporary fall an undeserving victim, I think some of the overbearing bashing on the other side of this youth activism get it wrong also. For one thing, Chinese boycotter are already more measured and rational than some of the "boycott China" folks in the West struggling to find anything not labeled "made in China". Unlike those folks, Chinese protesters are calling for just 17 days of boycott and one day shun of Carrefour. A sensible boycott must be measured, achievable, and have a clear goal, which in this case is about sending a message. Judging by these standards, the current boycott call is actually pretty well thought-out.

Why bash them even if they don't get it all right, especially since we already accused them of not doing much beside studying and getting rich? Aren't they getting experience of political activism, which is an important aspect of all democracy? How else can they learn to express themselves with measured and civil actions and abidance of law?

*sorry for the long post. But I feel like I have many more to say on this topic. I'm also thinking this post should probably be written in Chinese.

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Friday, April 18, 2008






每一首想你的诗 写在雨后的玻璃窗前
每一首多情的歌 为你唱著无心的诺言

给我个温暖的真情 和一个燃烧的爱情
让我这漂泊的心灵 有个找到了家的心情


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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mundane Matters in the Magical World

J. K. Rowling, the Harry Porter author, is testifying against the author of Lexicon of her magical world in a copyright infringement case.

This reminds me of a question posed by someone a while ago: You need to be mean and aggressive to get ahead in life; you also want to relax and be nice to people as Chinese value always teaches. Where should the line be drown?

I actually spent a minute to think about that.

For me, the answer would obvious be "Don't be mean to people when you don't need to". So, an educated shouldn't be mean to the ignorant, the grow-ups shouldn't be mean to budding souls, a tenure professor shouldn't be mean to his graduate students (which can't always be said), etc. If one day my kids ask me the same question, I'd tell them the same: we work hard to put you in a position so you don't need to be mean to people when it's not necessary. For the rest, fight your fight and be aggressive as you should.

Miss Rowling, you've earned billions, let the poor guy do what thousands of others have always done - construct on their fantasized fictional characters.

Then again, I don't read Harry Porter.

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就算要比谁更“垃圾”的话,我们家就算有垃圾这么几千来也修炼成了精,那叫马王堆文物,那叫孔夫子的夜壶,你们家有吗,是白宫吗,是打着激素冒充肌肉男的史泰隆吗,当你们每次派好莱坞讲故事说“LONG LONG AGO”的时候,我一考查,不对呀,那是人苏格兰的历史,那是人意大利的历史,那是人古巴比伦的历史,或者是非洲黑兄弟的历史。



















把人骂痛快了也是本事一桩 呵呵呵

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Quote of the Day

Commenting on traffic laws/fees are designed more to generate revenue than to keep people safe, upon the news that six cities caught shortening yellow light times for profit:

I usually drive naked and I get a lot of gawkers who want to admire my genitals, so I think there should be a "no gawking at the admirable genitalia of the thadeus" law, you know, just to keep people safe from the dangers of gawking at awesome genitals. - thadeus, an internet poster

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008


三个A cup的女人



又或许失望也是一种幸福吧, 因为有所期待,才令人失望

有三十岁A 、三十岁B 、三十岁C 。三十岁可以过三年。


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Free to Bet

Dalai Lama is visiting the U.S., where he is met with protests. It should be noted that unlike protests from the other side, no proceedings or speech is interrupted. In Seattle, Dalai Lama reveals that his aides are talking to China, despite his public outcry that China wouldn't engage in dialogue with him. That sounds as much a politician as a spiritual leader, isn't it? Not that one would mistaken him that he isn't. In an interview, he says he is against the boycott of the Olympics, but offer no opinion whether world leaders should boycott the opening ceremony. Much like he says he is for peaceful protests but offer no opinion about disruption of Torch Relay, all with a charming smile. "I can't just shut them up" sounds great as a spiritual leader, but rather a bit irresponsible as a political leader.

All I wanted to do was get a picture. These protestors have deprived me of that - Michael Johnson, Spectator

The obvious diversion of protesters' tactics from Dalai Lama's public message casts at least some doubt about His Holiness's leadership. Forbes has a piece that states that it is his holiness who sticks to unrealistic demands and doesn't want to face the real issue, rather than the usual charges against China in the media.

Speaking of media, what's up with both BBC and NYT run pieces about Torch Relay and the 1936 GAME? To be clear, it's not the presentation of historical facts that I have problem of, rather, it's the writing style that they used - as if there were never any torch relay in between the Nazi Germany's game and the 08 Beijing Game. They mislead and inflate the hate comment on those web-ages. I'm wondering whether they will rehash the story once 2012 London Game rolls around.

The Chinese, not impressed by the West a long time ago - as German writer/film producer Frank Sieren put it, are probably fed up by the pre-deposited reports. Some are using Youtube to mock fun, and the poor BBC reporter, James, falls the latest victim. Talks about boycotting French products are all the rage among Chinese netizens. While there have been no short of talk about boycotting Chinese products in the West, realistically it's much too hard, unless you are very rich or very poor.

All this leads some to wonder if the "free to bet" circus show backfired. And yes, it's "free to bet" since it looks like many of the politicians and activists are betting their political agenda on this.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Generate Your Graffiti Art

This cool graffiti-like art is generate by typing in "Rocking Off-Key" into the Typo Generator. This is the result of my first try, you can certainly try it out until you get results you like. I image it would make fine header background if I tile multiple of that together (please comment). Feel free to try your own.

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hi 你还好吧?

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Into The Wild

Can a man truly find himself and the meaning of life by living in seclusion in the wildness? While it is true that "you not only have to be strong, but need to feel strong", and you may find that defining moment that empowers you to be you by living solely on your own, the answer is a resounding no, as evidenced by the ending of the movie. After all, a revelation without the chance of exercising it in life doesn't constitute a true revelation, and does not do anyone any good, including oneself.
  However, the young antagonist does make a point. What more thrusting ways a point can be made than giving up one's own life? His journey of discovering the truth in life in more about protesting the society we lives in than a young man's pursuit of his mecca. Interestingly, it is the people he meets along the way, not his own destiny, that provides the best answer of his question: the simple, kind, people who offer him plenty of company, guidance, and heart-warmth. In that, the movie does provide a memorable line: "When you forgive, you love. And when you love, God's light will shine upon you". And our young hero finally realizes that "happiness only real when shared".
  So travel your travel, seek your seek, read your Lord Byron and Tolstoy, but always remember to come back.
  Joie de vivre.

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The lapsing and the Legacy

It's a bit sad that I put this as the first blog entry.

In refreshing my memory about blog design and the endless possibility of the css world, I searched for Madarin Design, from which I used to draw many nicety of layout styles. The update of that wonderful blog stopped at 2006. Little did I know that the owner, Meg, had left this world. A quick tour around the related sites revealed that the site itself had been pulled, and then backed up running - possible by someone who want to commemorate her.

Life is tenuous. Even the things we have that we touch on each other can vanish pretty quickly. The server could go down, the hosting could go out of business. So, between the lapsing and legacy, let the blog drums on.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Rocking Offkey like a frozen river: it looks still, but who knows what turbulence is roiling the water under the ice? - Miss Suu Kyi

We are from different places, even speaks different language at times. A singing show and internet brought us together, and allowed us to pretend knowing each other.

The idea is, to have a blog where preferably personal dirty laundry will be aired as little as possible while snipits of musing on daily life, thoughts on events and such. And general enjoyable things are to be shared. Tediousness in our professional work is to be avoided also.

Each of our life is a bit like a river. It may look like frozen on the surface, but there's always the under-currency that is rocking. It may not always on the note, it may be off-key here and there, but the important thing is we rocked, and rock on.

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