Wednesday, April 23, 2008

English the Chinese way

The New Yorker describes China's frenzied efforts "to conquer English to make China stronger" -- that is to say, bone up on the language before the Olympics. It's tempting and always good for a cheap laugh to make fun of Chinese English. After all, who hasn't cracked up reading the manuals that come with made in China goods, with instructions like "put long end in right side up". But seriously, how well would most of us fare if we tried to write instruction manuals in Chinese?

One thing that has always impressed me with the Chinese is their almost unreal ability to attempt anything. They have almost no sense of the impossible. I once met a 70 year old Chinese woman on a train who navigated by pointing to a piece of paper on which her destination was childishly printed in English. At another time I saw a 60 year old man commuting to work through the expedient of running to his destination in a pair of shoes whose soles had parted company with their uppers. Every morning he would whiz by gasping at a dead run, umbrella in one hand and brown paper lunch bag in the other. Every afternoon he would go by in the homeward direction. At least I thought it was homeward. Maybe he was headed for another job. As the days past I noticed changes in his getup. First the shoes got fixed. Then later, the shoes got changed. Then he got a new set of clothes. On and one he ran until one day, I didn't see him at all. I figured he had either dropped dead or improved his income to the point where he could take the train. Maybe he had bought at car.




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51 Comments:

Blogger Teresita said...

W: But seriously, how well would most of us fare if we tried to write instruction manuals in Chinese?

After the Republicans finish shipping our entire industrial base to China and wringing the Army dry in an eternal land war in Asia, we better know how to provide tech support in Mandarin, because at that point America will be the Call Center capital of the Chinese Universe.

4/23/2008 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

America built our cross-country railroads on the backs of Chinese coolies. I wonder who had the greater vision and/or was the most deranged: the Americans for wanting to do it in the first place "because it was there", or the Chinese for actually making it happen because no one told them it was impossible.

I keep wondering why Australia hasn't built some kind of cross-continental road or railroad system. Surely you could lure enough Chinese in to do it for you.

4/23/2008 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Coast to Coast to Coast

4/23/2008 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bill Ayers on Chou En Lai:

But just to give us a little perspective, I’m reminded of something that Chou En Lai, the Chinese premier under Mao Tse Tung, Chou En Lai was asked by a European reporter if he could comment on the impact and his thinking of the French Revolution, in terms of the Chinese experience.

And Chou En Lai thought about it for quite a long time, and he said the French Revolution?
Too early to tell.

And I think there’s something to that, you know, that I mean if you take the long view, empire’s in decline. If you take the long view, there’s a lot to look forward to. So many of us have watched with absent horror as we’ve been marched, step by step, towards an authoritarianism that was unthinkable forty years ago.

James Lileks on Ayers :

[Ayers] standing up there and quoting Chou En Lai about how we have to wait and see how the French Revolution turns out.
Well you know what? We know how the French Revolution turned out, and we knew pretty quickly how it turned out, that it’s a really bad idea to completely upend a civilization by violent means, kill everybody in the old order, establish an anti-clerical terror, and devolve into the modern terror state, which has been replicated with varying degrees of success, decades and centuries hence.

It was a bad idea. And when China tried to do the same thing and uproot their traditions, it was a bad idea. And one of the glories of the United States is that we’ve been able to change and grow and adopt and evolve without having these catastrophic, cataclysmic upheavals as Europe and the rest of the world have been want to do.
So for Ayers to be trotted out now as some wise, grey solon who’s preaching on the virtues of what they tried to do, just shows that he hasn’t changed a single bit.
---
(BUT, ...good to know Barry's buddies look to Mao's China for insight)

4/23/2008 07:06:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

There's a classic scene in a Night to Remember when the builder of the Titanic tells Captain Smith that the ship will float with any three compartments open to the sea. But not with five.

Obama's problem stems from an accumulation of data points which all lie on a line. Wright could have been an outlier. His Palestinian friends could have been an outlier. His weird advisers could have been an anomaly. How unclucky can you get if your tech adviser likes to produce Gay Singing Jesus films? Dohrn could have been just someone who he happened to know. Ayers might have been someone he met at coffee.

Each can be explained away by themselves. But the collection isn't so easily dismissed. I think Ian Fleming wrote "twice is happenstance, thrice is enemy action".

But before anyone thinks Mr. Obama is politically done for, wait. There are all sorts of people who are just happy as clams in muck that he has such progressive friends. For such as them, Ayers is One of the People They've Been Waiting For. The question in November is whether this group has now grown to such power that it can seize the Presidency by sheer weight of numbers.

4/23/2008 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger newscaper said...

I've wondered how CHina's attitude toward the outside world might be now, or for that matter, the last 2-3,000 years of world history if China had developed a proper phonetic alphabet.

So much can be traced backed to the extreme difficulty of acquiring reasonable proficiency, much less mastering, the written language.
Elites, strong central authority (and bureaucracy - the mandarins then, now their version of nomenklatura) and a sometimes crippling reliance on rote learning, all go back to that.

4/23/2008 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

The old running Chinese man sticks in my memory because he was dressed for the office in a manner of speaking. He was wearing leather shoes, which unfortunately had nearly come apart. In order to keep his trousers clear of puddles, he had gathered up his cuffs with a rubber band. He wore a coat, or at least it may have been a coat at one time. He was an altogether extraordinary figure.

I got to thinking that the only wealth a man can never lose -- and the only curse he can never shake off -- is culture. The things we do daily become habits. Habits become culture. And culture affects our destiny. That Chinese man had nothing but his culture.

It's occurred to me that if you swapped the populations of the United States and any given country in Equatorial Africa, within ten years all the American cities would be reduced to ruins while new skyscrapers would be springing up along the shores of the Stanley Pool. A nation's real wealth is in the heads of its people. If drive from the East to the West Coast, you will have passed along the way people who know how to build spaceships, aircraft, designer drugs, supercomputers, laminar flow hoods, robots, vaunting bridges and any terrestrial vehicle imagine. The real wealth is invisible.

When "progressives" say that all cultures are equally valuable they are pulling off the greatest con of all.

4/23/2008 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

NahnCee said...

America built our cross-country railroads on the backs of Chinese coolies.
//////////
chinese laborers were not involved in the construction of any of the railroads east of the missippi used during the civil war. these were built mostly by irish and german laborers. chinese laborers were used starting in 1865 but not exclusively--in the western link of the transcontinental railroad from san francisco to promontory point Utah. The eastern link from the Missippi to Utah was built by various other american ethnic groups --mainly german and irish.

for the most part the chinese are proud of their contribution to american history.

4/23/2008 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger newscaper said...

I'll also add that, as a former engineer in a US electronics company that was bought out by the Japanese, that dealing directly and indirectly with Japanese and the Chinese (in the Shenzen factories).

At least when in "work mode", the capitalist Japanese could be painfully narrowminded/inflexible/doctrinaire to the point of stupidity, whereas the supposedly communist Chinese could be much nicer to work with, much more willing to improvise to solve problems.

Of course their notions of ethics were rather "flexible" too -- problem meeting promised first-pass quality yields? Just hide - literally - the defective products rather than repairing them.

4/23/2008 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

probably not Wretchard. Too few in numbers. Hillary killed Obama among working/middle class whites in PA.

4/23/2008 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger F said...

Wretchard:

Your comment about swapping the populations of the US and equatorial Africa is something I have pondered for many years -- ever since living in Kinshasa, Douala and Bangui in the seventies and eighties. (BTW, If you really want to understand Bangui, go back and read Conrad).

Yes, culture explains a lot, but I think not everything. I used to make excuses for the people of equatorial Africa because of the rape and plunder they suffered under colonialism, but even that barely became part of their current culture (or -- mirabile dictu -- only the worst parts of colonial culture became part of their culture. Think Bokassa.) Some of the earliest European writing on equatorial Africa paints a history that is beyond imagining today: the French railway between Brazzaville and the Atlantic Ocean cost so many lives that it was estimated one African died for every sleeper laid down. But truth to tell, there is no history there that is comparable to your running Chinese worker. Why not? I cannot explain it.

Thanks for the post -- interesting stuff.

F

4/23/2008 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Whiskey_199: probably not Wretchard. Too few in numbers. Hillary killed Obama among working/middle class whites in PA.

It's not as bad as it looks for Obama. She was up by 20 points in PA after the last batch of primaries. PA is a state of seasoned citizens, Hillary's demographic, left over after the young'uns left, which is not typical. And PA was a closed primary, only registered Democrats could vote. No independents. Obama is getting a lot of people crossing over the aisle. Of course Hillary is milking it for all its worth, saying "the media is picking on me" yesterday and "Obama can't close the deal" today. Which one is it, Hil?

4/23/2008 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Wretchard: It's occurred to me that if you swapped the populations of the United States and any given country in Equatorial Africa, within ten years all the American cities would be reduced to ruins while new skyscrapers would be springing up along the shores of the Stanley Pool

This might still be true to some extent, because America is where people went when they were not satisfied with the conditions of where they were born. And within the country itself the process repeated when people who lived in the East got dissatisfied with things and endured hardships to move West. We had one glorious century. But now America is filling up with the spoiled children and grandchildren of those magnificent immigrants and pioneers (myself included) who have no more frontiers and nowhere to go to get away from the implacable entropy which overtakes all great enterprises eventually, from Microsoft to the CIA.

4/23/2008 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Obama has won a grand total of ONE large state:
His own.
...in addition to losing "must win" states like Ohio and PA.

...he holds most of his rallies in college settings, the only places other than Starbucks where hope and change are regarded as something other than tired, sad, bromides.

4/23/2008 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Implacable entropy has been strongly aided and abetted by the more than ten million new illegals allowed in in the last 8 years:

Graduation rates below 50% bode ill, and the already sick schools are brought to their knees by large numbers of non-english speakers.
An LAUSD Board member gave the example of non-speakers coming into 9th grade classes!

4/23/2008 08:35:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

The question in November is whether this group has now grown to such power that it can seize the Presidency by sheer weight of numbers.

After the OJ Simpson verdict was announced, by mutual consent with no oral or written communication, the majority of Americans threw up an implacable and impenetrable barrier between him and polite society. He was disinvited from EVERY where, except his black juror buddies in the 'hood. If he wasn't in a real jail for murder, at least he was sentenced to a life term of being shunned by those he most wished to associate with.

I think the points Wretchard has just listed of the various holds taking on water in Obama's Titanic has led to the first brick being thrown down in Pennsylvania in an implacable impenetrable wall that polite society is now throwing up against Obama and his aspirations for the Presidency.

Each mis-step is minor. Taken as a whole they are unforgivable and I just don't see him being able to take even the Democratic candidacy, let alone win the Presidency.

4/23/2008 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

RIIIIGHT! Obama will pick up independents and Republicans, based on his opposition to gun ownership, race-pandering, anti-white sentiment, soft-on-crime policies. Heck homeowners who are stuck in a soft market will vote for anyone else. Soft on crime = lower housing values.

The only thing holding Obama up is the media in the tank for him. Chris Matthews with a thrill up his leg. Well and block voting by Blacks and Rich White Yuppies wanting an imaginary hip black friend.

Obama has never won a statewide election against tough Republican opposition. He's a total Liberal with pals who thought Manson's murders were cool. And they're probably the least of his worries.

At this point I'd look for the panders. McCain already offered the Gas Tax Holiday. Obama offers ... higher taxes? For saving the polar bears, enforcing the two squares rule in the bathroom, and another mansion for Wright?

Lost in this is the structural weakness for Dems. They don't offer the usual electoral panders for middle class people because the interests of rich white yuppies and Blacks are completely opposite. For Obama to win, the interests of average Americans must lose.

You can't "stop global warming" without massive social controls that force people out of houses into "housing estates" run by thugs and other criminals. By outlawing the private auto, except for rich people. And so on.

You can't have Affirmative Action without a shrinking pool of Whites losing and Blacks and Hispanics winning. In schools, colleges, aid, hiring, etc.

Just two examples of the massive structural weakness of Dems. They have the media. Which loves the mantra of defeat and surrender (witness the entropy comment). Most people, particularly homeowners, are not receptive to the message from Dems that their lives will have to get worse for "the greater good." While rich and minorities get a pass.

4/23/2008 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger some said...

"If drive from the East to the West Coast, you will have passed along the way people who know how to build spaceships, aircraft, designer drugs, supercomputers, laminar flow hoods, robots, vaunting bridges and any terrestrial vehicle imagine."

But more importantly: people who know how to form working (not crippled by corruption, looting, etc.) organizations to make and develop this stuff.

"You can't have Affirmative Action without a shrinking pool of Whites losing and Blacks and Hispanics winning. In schools, colleges,"

No, not really. How apropos you bring this up in a Chinese thread, because racial preferences at the college level are probably about neutral for whites. It's Asians who are getting race-normed out.

4/23/2008 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger Quig said...

W. said," But seriously, how well would most of us fare if we tried to write instruction manuals in Chinese?"

I think we, having learned the language, would do it well. I could repeat a story about an Irishman who evolved in a similar way to Wretchard's Chinaman. The desciption of a drive across North America says a great deal.

As I passed thorugh my own stages of life one of my goals was to make $100/wk. then $500, the $1000 all the while doing a job I thought was worth doing for the sake of the creative task involved, not purely for the money.

That is one of the magic things encapsuled in the word "freedom". You can make your own choice of what you do and how you do it. You can make your own choice of where you go and when. You can make your own changes or accept those dealt you. You are limited only by your own imagination, talent and energy.

4/23/2008 10:46:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Obama's problem stems from an accumulation of data points which all lie on a line. Wright could have been an outlier. His Palestinian friends could have been an outlier. His weird advisers could have been an anomaly. How unclucky can you get if your tech adviser likes to produce Gay Singing Jesus films? Dohrn could have been just someone who he happened to know. Ayers might have been someone he met at coffee."
---
Obama spent much of his time in High School on drugs or talking to fellow druggies, to better prepare himself for all the flakes he would associate with as an adult.

4/24/2008 04:23:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Zimbabwe-Bound Ship Heads Back to China
A Chinese ship carrying armaments and bound for Zimbabwe has headed back without unloading its cargo, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry confirmed.

4/24/2008 04:27:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Keeping Faith In China
...Christianity is booming as never before in China
---
(kristof also had a neat article about chinese learning english for the olympics, but I couldn't find it)

4/24/2008 05:02:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

China and Darfur
By Nicholas D. Kristof
Mia Farrow and her son, Ronan Farrow, have an important piece in the Wall Street Journal today about China’s shameful role in underwriting the genocide in Darfur.
---
(may not have shamed the Chi-coms, but they did Spielberg!)

4/24/2008 05:40:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Doug's article: "Yet Christianity is booming as never before in China, and some giddy followers say China could eventually have hundreds of millions of Christians — perhaps more than any other country in the world.

Glad to see it. Christianity got a foothold in the first Evil Empire, pagan Rome, and transformed the world. Every convert to Christ is one less potential Jihadist suicide bomber.

4/24/2008 06:17:00 AM  
Blogger Salt Lick said...

if you swapped the populations of the United States and any given country in Equatorial Africa, within ten years all the American cities would be reduced to ruins

PJ O'Rourke once said that most Mexicans weren't mad the US stole half their country; they were mad we stole the half with all the good roads.

4/24/2008 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger bschne1909 said...

I don’t think that China is embracing English primarily for the Olympics. Even in parts of China far from Beijing, English is widely taught. A westerner can not walk a block without several kids saying “Hello, how are you?” The English language section of a Chinese book store will be several times the size of the entire foreign language section of an American bookstore.
We saw in a McDonalds a display where 2 youngsters were selling English language instruction kits under a sign that said “English is the future”.
One other observation, for a “totalitarian” country it seems more like anarchy. Driving laws, smoking restrictions, anti-litter laws and Q-ing are things we follow and they ignore almost completely.

4/24/2008 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Unfortunately, as newscaper points out, and victims here are learning, their ignoring of restrictions extends to the junk products they send here, from toys to injectable heparin.
---
newscaper said...
"Of course their notions of ethics were rather "flexible" too -- problem meeting promised first-pass quality yields? J
ust hide - literally - the defective products rather than repairing them.
"

4/24/2008 07:23:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

salt lick:
In Hawaii, the problem is the missionaries stole all the land w/running water.

4/24/2008 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger Insight said...

Most people do not realize that most mainland Chinese live in rural villages and earn less than $600 per year. In order to live in a city one has to become a citizen of the city. Some workers get temporary work permits but they are watched to see if they try to hide in the city.
Indeed there is a push in China to learn English. I saw English signs in small shops in Nanjing that are far from any tourist places. Nanjing is not a main tourist city.
The Chinese educational system is weak. Most professors are party members but some are not. But the library of Beijing University has books and journals that are not censored in any way.
There is SO MUCH hype about China. One source of hype are investors who want to lure Americans to invest in shaky enterprises there. The other source are Westerns who hope that China will eventually overcome the West. Some of those folks still think that China is really Communist.

4/24/2008 07:37:00 AM  
Blogger LarryD said...

"I've wondered how China's attitude toward the outside world might be now, or for that matter, the last 2-3,000 years of world history if China had developed a proper phonetic alphabet."

There's a good reason why China's writing system isn't even close to phonetic, isn't alphabetic at all. They didn't have a common spoken language. The "dialects" of Chinese are mutually unintelligible, even today. Lacking a common language, the writing system was designed to be a written substitute, not tied to any of the languages.

4/24/2008 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

NahnCee said:

"I keep wondering why Australia hasn't built some kind of cross-continental road or railroad system. Surely you could lure enough Chinese in to do it for you."

Australia has the Indian-Pacific railroad that will get you from Sydney to Perth. The Indian-Pacific railroad goes through the Nullarbor Plain (Null-Arbor = No-Trees) which is incredibly flat. Consequently the Indian-Pacific railroad has some of the longest straight sections of railroad in the world. There are a few two laned paved roads that go across Australia and many dirt roads. The dirt roads tend to be more fun to drive on. My wife and I used to go on long drives in the Queensland countryside in an ancient Toyota Corolla. It was good fun but we were always a bit nervous about having a kangaroo coming through the windshield (they're big heavy animals!).

The Australian continent has almost the same area as the continental United States. However Australia's population is only 20 million versus the 301 million of the United States. Most Austalians live in the southeastern corner of the continent and are mainly city dwellers. There are not many major cities in Western Australia, e.g. Perth, Albany and Kalgoorlie. I've visited Perth and Albany and liked both towns (my wife thought they were boring). We both liked Kalgoorlie (an interesting mining town).

The Indian-Pacific railroad is a fairly modern railroad that was built by Australians. However the Chinese did play a major role in Australia that has largely been forgotten. In the 19th century there was considerable mining in New South Wales around Ballarat and in Northern Queensland (the largely abandoned mining towns in Northern Queensland are interesting to visit). Chinese miners were extensively involved in this 19th century mining. However the Chinese miners only came to Australia to make money (they did not come as permanent emigrants). There was a similar situation with Chinese miners in California during the 1849 Gold Rush. For the most part, after the Chinese miners made their money, they went back home to China.

4/24/2008 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Teresita,

"Christianity got a foothold in the first Evil Empire, pagan Rome, and transformed the world. Every convert to Christ is one less potential Jihadist suicide bomber."

In this, if not in much else, I find myself in total agreement with you.

4/24/2008 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Final Tallies for the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary:

Obama 45%, Hillary 55 percent

The alleged News Media and the Obama supporters want to minimize this trouncing. The way they do this is to frame it in terms of a difference of a mere 10 percentage points out of 100. But maybe a better way of expressing it is to compare the numbers directly --- 55 compared to 45 --- which means that Hillary achieved a total of 122 percent of Obama's vote

In any case, in past presidential races this sort of win has been called a landslide victory and a Mandate for Change.

----------------
By the way, about gasoline prices: I heard Rush Limbaugh confess on a national broadcast last year that he and George Bush meet once a week and decide what the price of gasoline will be at every pump at every service station in the country.

Smoke THAT, you crazy ReThuglicans!

>;^D

4/24/2008 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Dan: In this, if not in much else, I find myself in total agreement with you.

Thanks Dan. I fancy myself not so much Left but Center-Left. Otherwise I'd be on Daily Kos.

4/24/2008 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger shivermetimbers said...

I have been traveling to China since the late 80's. I met my wife here in the US where she grew up, but she was born in Shanghai. I am amazed at, having lost all their wealth when the communists took over, her family risked everything and came here to the US with practically nothing - two of her great uncles were professors here in the US and sponsored them to come over.

With nothing, they worked multiple jobs and taught their children to value education so they can get into the the best schools and universities.

I compare that to some of my own siblings who felt they were due something because they were born here, only to realize late in life that nothing is owed in terms of a free ride - if you work hard you can succeed.

The gentleman you described rushing to and from work, slowly moving up (better clothes??), reminds me of my in-laws over the years, slowly moving up in American society.

As mentioned, I spend a lot of time in China. I am optimistic and nervous at the same time. My nervousness stems from Chinese nationalism that seems to be excessively high for any country - major chip on their shoulders.

One of my favorite parts of China is their view of the US. The word for America in Mandarin is Mei Guo, which means beautiful country.

4/24/2008 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

My favorite part of China.

4/24/2008 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger shivermetimbers said...

Mike H.

"My favorite part of China."

Indeed. But, beware. Beneath those cute faces could easily lurk an empress dowager.

4/24/2008 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I was hoping "Megu" had some equally pleasant meaning in Japanese, as we met a very friendly Japanese family whose beautiful daughter was Megu.
...shouldn't have looked it up:
"Magical girl anime series Witch"
ah well.

4/24/2008 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The 2007 Dohrn-Ayers Videos
Guy Benson is the young producer that dug up the 2007 tape of William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn speaking at an SDS reunion, adio of which debuted on the Sandy Rios Show which Guy produces, then on my show, Hannity & Colmes, Laura Ingraham.

Some of My Best Friends Are Liberals. None of Them Are Terrorists.
My column today provides the key links.

Benson has now posted a column analyzing Senator Obama's responses to the Obama-Ayers-Dohrn connections.
Read the whole thing.

4/24/2008 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger Polybius said...

Writing manuals in Chinese? No problem!

寫中文很容易呀!

But seriously, I agree with Wretchard's observation re: swapping populations geographically. Culture is everything.

Among the Chinese I've known (let's say, the number's more than average), the drive for success against all odds is very strong. There may be lots of reasons why this is so. In any case, it's real.

Give them a wasteland, and in two generations, they'll have a vibrant, successful nation. In fact, they've done it. Look at China today, since the government finally (partially) got out of the way of the people. Say what you will about the Chinese government today. It's a vast improvement over the Chinese Communist Party under Mao.

In many ways, I think it's analogous to a common American trait: "Don't tell me it's impossible. I'll make it happen."

4/24/2008 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

North Carolina GOP Obama Ad
(YouTube link avoids the slow GOP Site)

4/24/2008 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Los Angeles 'is a Third World city'
"The question is are we going to be a 21st century city with shared prosperity, or a Third World city with an elite group on top and most on near poverty wages?" he said.

4/24/2008 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Polybius, I had a Chinese history prof. who felt that the current regime was just one in the never ending line of dynasties.

shivermetimbers, point well taken.

4/24/2008 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger Polybius said...

mike h.,

I totally agree. Maybe the Mao-era government tried to implement a true communist break from history. But the current regime runs like any other dynastic government, with a veneer of communist philosophy displacing the old Confucian philosophy.

4/24/2008 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger Polybius said...

By the way, using the old Chinese dynastic style of government as a an analytical framework really helps explain and predict the behavior of the Chinese government.

4/24/2008 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Well then, what comes next?
;-)

4/24/2008 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger Polybius said...

Doug,

Depends on what your talking about. Lots of stuff going on.
:)

4/24/2008 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Dang!

4/24/2008 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger rmselectronics said...

http://www.apa.org/journals/features/psp7761121.pdf

According to this American Psychological Association article, part of the problem with poor decision making, is thinking that you are an above average decision maker. This tendency seems to hold regardless of actual decision making ability or exposure to superior decision making.

4/25/2008 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger rhhardin said...

The value of Asian attempts at English is in revealing how complicated English is. You'd be very hard pressed to give rules for the presence or absence of determiners (the, a), for example ; yet every incorrect use is blindingly obvious.

How do you know this if you can't give the rules? Nobody knows.

4/25/2008 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Russian language manages to communicate between speakers without use of definite articles in most instances. At first I found this to be bizarre and upsetting, but eventually accepted it as normal.

Russian more than makes up for such simplification by its common use of runaway consonants unrelieved by intervening vowels, and by its arcane declension of every conceivable language unit, including a lot of innocent bystanders.

4/28/2008 10:38:00 AM  

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