Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pick the Right Story!

Yesterday there was a front page story on the local free newspaper Red Eye about deportation center in Illinois. I chuckled while reading the story because whoever wrote it didn't make it clear if they are for those to be deported or against them. (I don't believe that journalists don't take sides. They pick stories to write about because they care about one way or the other.)

The main character in this story was a 19 year old young man who was about to be deported to Mexico. He has been in the US since he was 5 (entered illegally with his family). He has just recently fathered a child with his 20 year old girlfriend - call me conservative but I don't want my children to think that having a child out of wedlock is a norm, ever. Now he's gone, somebody has to pick up the tab for this single mom and new baby. There must be some sort of health care he has received, who paid for that?

He was working hard - wait, who paid for his education for him to get the job?

He was picked up at a traffic stop - hint: safe drivers don't get picked up, anywhere.

He was found driving without a driver's license and arrested - great, I guess he doesn't have insurance either.

He would be deported to Mexico, a land he has little knowledge of and few friends - that's what I had when I first came to the US too! But I made it just fine.

This country has always been tolerant for irresponsible behaviors, but I don't have to be. I don't screw people and have a child while my own life is in limbo. I always try to do the right thing, because it might seem free now, but I know I will have to pay for it one day. But I hate to pay for others' mistakes. Where is the accountability?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Vote with your feet

Last week one of my colleagues had a chat with me about her experience applying for the Green Card. Sure there were a lot of pain and frustration. It really seems that this country doesn't want people to follow the legal route to come here and treats whoever attempts to do so like crap.

But later I read a post online about how a father ran back-and-forth between two cities many many times to try to obtain a Beijing Hukou (a unique form of registration for permanent residence in Mainland China) for his infant daughter. Of course, before she was born, he had to also go through many hurdles to obtain a permit to have the child. The father is a PhD and a professor in one of the best universities, but it didn't help his case in anyway (I agree it shouldn't, he is entitled to be treated like crap just as everyone else). He said at the end that he would prepare his daughter for a US Hukou.

Well, prepare for more torture for that one.

Friday, August 13, 2010

American Idiots

I was dismayed to find that the first few online comments on the America's Best College List by Forbes started with this: "This list is lame. Cambridge is not in the US." To put this into context, Forbes' article starts with: "The best college in America is not in Cambridge or Princeton..."

Apparently the folk lore that Americans are ignorant about the world's geography is not exaggerated. Some people don't even know their own country's geography! Many commentators later correctly stated that Cambridge is a small town outside of Boston where two of the most famous universities are situated: Harvard and MIT. They are not talking about Cambridge, England. Well, those who jumped to the conclusion without researching in the vast amount of information available to us nowadays at our finger tips definitely won't make it to those two universities. They might've failed their high school science classes.

It brings me back to the question: how much could you trust the crowd? Sure the crowd will always adjust itself until it comes very close to the right answers, but how long should we wait before we could be sure that the crowd is right?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Some things I Picked Up from American Women

# I say NO, and that means NO.
# When I say "Fine", "Whatever", and "Right" with a weired tone, you know I mean "you are an idiot and I don't care what you think".
# I say Thank You whenever someone does anything nice for me because I don't expect anyone to do anything for me.
# I pay my own bills.
# I have a lot of road rage.
# I paint my toe nails.
# I eat yogurt (but no cheese snacks, thanks).
# I call my female colleagues "honey" and "sweetheart" sometimes.
# I drink cold milk even when I am having my period.
# I don't try to avoid using "I" any more.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Ugly Internet

The older I get, the more I believe that humans are born evil, especially when no one is watching, like on the Internet. I started writing my Chinese blog in the hope that I could use facts and reasons to change many people's ignorant and distorted view of the world. But sometimes I am tired and have doubts if that would ever happen. Too many people leave irresponsible and nasty comments without even reading my blog carefully. When you argue based on ideology, not facts, then there is really no discussion, it's just a vent-out, a monologue.
Well, I guess I would still write on, changes are incremental, especially changing people's minds.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Just because he can't speak English...

Doesn't mean he is stupid, Ma'am.

I was in the public library today waiting in a long line to borrow a new economics book. There were three clerks working at the counter but the line was held up by an old white lady. She seemed to be upset by the clerk who was handling her check-in. I could hear the clerk, sitting low, speaking broken language, sounded like he might have some sort of disabilities. I couldn't see him but I was imagining a person with down syndrome struggling with these simple tasks. The old lady eventually called the white mid-age clerk nearby to sort her problem.

At that time, I caught a glimpse of the sitting clerk: he was not disable, he was an Asian in his late 50s.

The white clerk tried to explain to the old lady that the Asian clerk did nothing wrong. Actually he did check-in twice to make sure the book was taken off her record. She murmured and insisted to have all her record printed out, which the white clerk obliged.

The woman waiting behind me was a bit disgusted: "What is her problem? Doesn't she know that you can't check a book out twice? Just because he is a minority, she thinks he is stupid?"

I turned around and said: "That was condescending."

She stared at me through her sunglasses like she was stunned and angered: "What? My comment?"

I replied: "No, her attitude."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chinglish VS Chinese/English

I was reading a Chinese lady's blog this morning. She wrote a short article about Beyonce and American feminism. I didn't know anything about her before today. Interestingly, her blog uses a style of mixing Chinese and English. I am no language purist. I think the recent ban on English acronyms usage in public media in China is ridiculous. Language is liquid, it changes with time, culture, and geography. Languages mix with one and other daily. There isn't and shouldn't be any defined border among languages.

But I honestly didn't see the point of this lady's blog of mixing the two languages. Is she writing to a Chinese audience or American audience? Switching back and forth of languages destroys the flow of the article and annoys the hell out of me. Is it a pretentious way of showing off that she can command both languages? Or is it a sign that she can't work with either well?

I speak and write in English everyday, it doesn't make me a better writer in Chinese. Ultimately, it is the logic and flow that makes a good argument and good essay. The soul of writing is not the language, it's the thoughts behind the language.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Shanghai Pollution

On the popular website for Chinese living abroad, mitbbs, people often post their experiences visiting China. A recent post described a mother's worry for her daughter's health in Shanghai because the pollution is so bad. The responds this post got were overwhelmingly negative. Many people said the original poster was too picky and pretentious. Sure, very few people on that forum was born and raised in the US. Instead, they are immigrants, often moved out of the country in their adulthood. It is hard to argue that after a few years living elsewhere, a person would grow so unaccustomed to his/her birth place.

But we all know, we all change. Isn't that the main purpose of leaving in the first place? We want to change, and give up what we had for the hope of change. Besides, why do some people like to bury their heads in the sand? I guess it's too hard to judge something when you have too much attachment or affection towards it.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Writing in another language

I haven't been keeping up with this blog lately. Like my own private English blog, it is not easy to enjoy writing in English as much as I do in Chinese. While I was writing my dissertation, I realized that I couldn't see the logical disconnections in my English writing as I could in my native language.

LOGIC! Never occurred to me before that it could be a problem. I am not saying I'm good at logic but I haven't had any problem convincing/arguing with people before. Of course, this has something to do with the length of the dissertation too, it's hard to keep track of a 200-400 pages argument. It just goes to show you that we take many simple things for granted, such as our ability to write. It takes a change of scenarios to challenge you to think, and hopefully to change as well.

What is the point of writing anyway? I write so much, but can't write three sentences straight without my mind wandering around in between. Is it the language? Or is it that my attention span has become so short? With three different writing projects in the next month to finish, I suddenly feel that I should pick this blog up now, so I could use my wandering mind for something useful... good logic? Perhaps.