Aside

Summer has always been a time of reflection for me, a time to try new and different things (and probably for everyone else as well) . last summer, i lived in beijing. this summer, i just finished my stint in shanghai. and i’m apologize to those who i haven’t informed yet but i’m actually back in providence already doing summer research. yes, and summer research is a new thing.

i’m at work but rather than doing something productive, i’m reflecting. reflection is one of those serious words, the ones that you throw out when you want to sound …mmm… reflective.The thing which I like about summer is there is a lot of chance for reflection not only because I have a lot more free time on my hands, but also because my summers are usually a lot more adventurous than my academic year, so I get to observe myself in contrasting environments in a short period of time.

i spent half of my summer in shanghai and i’m going to the rest of my summer in providence. I got here last weekend, but I couldn’t help but already observe the drastic changes my mind or my internal priorities has already gone through in the week i’ve been here. Most prominent are my changing focus from the external world to myself, and also my self-confidence. In china, i’m surrounded by voices. my bosses, my parents, my colleagues. Well intentioned people are always talking to me, trying to influence me. Often, i just have to hide to find some space to hide from the noise.

but here, it’s just me. it’s me me me me me. it’s so devoid of stimulus that i’m clicking on every link i can find. the end result is me being completely distracted and unfocused, and having ten thousand things on my to-read-later list. i’m completely mentally undisciplined right now but i know I can behave different because during the semester, i take classes and have homework and have things to do. but right now, my productivity is zero. i could use summer as an excuse but i also know that this is part of my natural personality. my parents have said about me being easily distracted since i was really young. I can also cast blame at the internet and human’s low concentration span. Another more intriguing one may be that in a day in China, I see more than I will in a month in Providence so maybe my focus on the external world in China is necessary. But the onus is on me, focus is needed to succeed. I shouldn’t need to remind myself so often but focus, excellence is a habit. Day in, day out.

On the note of self-confidence, I realize when i’m in China, i don’t really worry about needing to prove myself. The cockiness comes naturally from my self-imposed importance due to my western education. But once i’m back in the states, i find myself again as another babbling drooling bafoon (or a naive, under-achieving asian  (the racial minority is actually a huge part of it i think) undergrad).

to think about this whole reflection thing. this blog is a product of reflection, every post some debilitation on some facet of me, a little piece of me that changes or goes unchanged after a few hundred words of monologue out loud. and I wonder, as I realize how many posts I’ve written, how many of these little decisions do I still remember, or even worse yet, how many of these do I actually still follow. reflection is supposed to mean progress, but it doesn’t always seem so.

and this post is yet another one of those long and winding ones, which start somewhere, but not really sure where it ends. it’s what faux-writers like me like to call introspection, musings, thoughts, ideas, discussion, monologue, and of course, reflection. there’s not really any point, maybe some ideas being thrown around here or there, maybe a few aggrandized statements. observations i’ve made, but change i may not commit but thank you for staying until the end.

p.s. I actually have been writing, I just sometimes am too lazy to correct the grammar or proofread it, so i just autopost it to tumblr, which is my less formal blog. Check it out if you want: http://feelthinkwrite.tumblr.com/

differences

informal analysis of chinese teenager’s view towards the world through social news website

currently working in shanghai behind the chinese firewall so i apologize for the lack of blog posts even though i’ve had a ton of thoughts but don’t have access to wordpress at work.

background:
I’m a redditor, the noncontributing type, so I was interested in see what the chinese version of reddit is in china.
The chinese equivalent of reddit is mop.com, and for a more reddit like experience, tt.mop.com or dzh.mop.com

observable characteristics in both reddit and mop
a lot of self posts, people posting about their own stories
mop.com has their equivalent to r/g.w. but not 18+
things get extremely viral

some unique characteristic of mop.com:
most of the news concerns the strange, the ugly and the unbelievable,
comments on reddit are almost always comforting and nice, not necessarily true for mop. some comments are quite nasty.
there’s a huge emphasis on pictures. if people tell a good story, netizens want pictures.

informal analysis, hypothesized reason for observed behavior:
1) society is corrupt, there is a lot of injustice and abuse of power.

This is understood among the general Chinese population. Corruption is prevalent in every facet of society, even in the pinnacles of power. It is understood among people that if want to get ahead, then you’re going to have to bribe. It’s not only giving out favors but also includes helping to get away with things, dismiss prosecution and bypass regulation. Examples I won’t provide but I might do a more detailed post if enough people want me to in the comments.

The psychological effects of corruption trickles down to everyone. People recognize that there really isn’t any point to follow the right path if everyone else takes the shortcut. The economic effect is gigantic wealth disparity. This leads to a hostile environment where power begets more power and everyone is trying to reach the top and try to outbribe each other.

Netizens, especially teenagers, are disgruntled by society. Unable to do anything, they try to exert their own version of justice in the online space. The emphasis on showing scandals, showing the ugly parts of society reflects this sort of attitude. Many comments are nice but also many comments are along the lines of “you should have known better” and sorts. You can feel a kind of animosity even towards strangers, rising from the anger/sadness from the commentor towards the OP for not recognizing the signs and an anger towards society. In chinese, we call this 厌愤. It would be appreciated if anyone could give a better explanation of this. It also leads to a distrust among people and thus the need for pictures for proof. The phrase popular among the forum is 有图有真相.

I also feel that the low value society puts on virtue leads to a materialistic obsession of the people as nothing is more real than money. Although I haven’t really seen this on the mop yet, I’ve been told that the Chinese have a much stronger obsession towards luxury goods leading to posts titled “showing all the luxury brand purses/dreses/bags i own”

2) China is big, incredibly so.
There’s 1.3 billion people in China. A quarter of the world lives in China. Thus, a quarter of the world’s events also happen in China. Rare things happen often and extremely rare things also happen.
Unified by a common language and culture, likes and dislikes of the 1.3 billion people are similar. Adding to this are people who realize that they otherwise would never be known in the world, so they are willing to share a lot of private information. They also find a comfort in this mass of people because they think nobody will ever find them ( which is partly true until you have millions of netizens on your tail are trying to find you). Adding to this again is our first observation that the Chinese netizens have an affinity towards the strange and ugly. Then, you have the perfect formula for a viral explosion, a really strange event that captures the attention of a few, who dedicate their time to finding out more about it, and publish it to the world through mop.com and it blows up to a massive scale. People comment and spoof and parodize to exert some of the pressure from living in this unjust society.

Some unanswered questions
what is the demographics of mop.com
why are people so willing to post pictures?
and what are yours?

macroeconomic challenges of china

situation:
due to inflation, chinese prices are no longer competitive.
as a comparison, if us government subsidized, opening factory in new hampshire would be as competitive.
therefore chinese rmb won’t budge anymore.

experts had hoped that domestic spending would cover the gap in decreased exports
but chinese are good savers.
chinese: 40% saving, americans: 2% saving.
so the gap will not be reconciled.

result:
thousands of factories will close down because there is no profit to be made.

issue:
china factory practices are
workers are paid 20% of wages every month, until chinese new year when you pay the difference plus 13 month bonus
this chinese new year, we’re going to see a lot of factory owners disappear

first boom of china since markets were opened.
there will be panic.
real estate market has already dropped 20%

businesses are going somewhere else for labor.
losers of this situation: the lower class. the capitalists made all the money they needed in the boom of the past years.
but not many workers have risen to middle class yet.

the descendant of the dragon

i don’t care what you think of me now, a commie, a socialist, a sick man of asia, a yellow dude

but i wanna scream to the world I TOLD YOU SO

i rmb i backed china when everyone called it a commie country, the country of hell.

august 8, 2008, marked the rebirth of china, the celebration ceremony of the coming of age of the country that was once a toddler who still has small eyes, yellow skin, short height. second golden age of the dragon country after 2000 years.

everything in my skin screams CHINA PREVAILS.

i couldn’t help feel proud for a country I stood behind before most others did

i feel proud for the BEIJING OLYMPICS messages across everyone china person’s face

the sound of 2008 drums, the picture of motherland china, the image of the sole chinese man taking his journey joined all of china on that very special night that shall remain in our history book…

forever

i just hope the people who had fought so hard for china’s revival could come back from the dead to see their own efforts

now, i just hope china falls back into another dark age too soon