October 20, 2008

What’s blogging?

Filed under: blogs,China — Kim @ 4:47 pm

A certain Mr Andrew Sullivan over at The Atlantic magazine recently wrote an essay about blogging. What is blogging? What are its strengths and weaknesses? etc etc. Here’s an extract I want to pick a quarrel with:

blogging suffers from the same flaws as postmodernism: a failure to provide stable truth or a permanent perspective. A traditional writer is valued by readers precisely because they trust him to have thought long and hard about a subject, given it time to evolve in his head, and composed a piece of writing that is worth their time to read at length and to ponder. Bloggers don’t do this and cannot do this—and that limits them far more than it does traditional long-form writing.

But that seems a rather partial perspective to me. Take just 3 examples from the (English language) China blogosphere…What about old Mr Useless Tree or The Granite Studio or Mutant Palm. Are they not thoughtful writers? Are their posts not very often carefully considered and worth pondering?

I guess a lot of blogging is done in a hurry, but considering this was a piece published in a prestigious “dead-tree” magazine, and therefore by his own criteria should be more complex and subtle and thoroughly thought through, it seemed a bit too prone to sweeping statements: “Bloggers don’t do this and cannot do this”, and too narrow in its definition of what blogging is. He ought to get out in the blogosphere a bit more perhaps.

Oh, and the main reason I read The Atlantic is for the excellent China pieces by James Fallows. Check out his latest.

October 15, 2008

A young Asian hero is something to be

Filed under: asia,culture,east-west,teaching — Kim @ 1:23 pm

With thanks and doffed cap to John Lennon, the following is a not entirely fair, not entirely untrue take on my experiences of the Japanese, Thai, Chinese, and Korean education systems.

As soon as you’re born they make your world small
By feeding you country instead of it all
And you need to get outside to see it at all
A young Asian hero is something to be
A young Asian hero is something to be

You’ll get spoiled at home and then stifled at school
They love you to pass tests and swallow their drool
Till you’re so used to follow you follow the rule
A young Asian hero is something to be
A young Asian hero is something to be

When they’ve bullied and cowed you for twenty odd years
Then they expect you to slave at a career
And you don’t try to object because of your fear
A young Asian hero is something to be
A young Asian hero is something to be

Keep you doped with the papers and crap on TV,
And you think you’re so clever and classless and free,
But you’re still cannon fodder from what I can see,
A young Asian hero is something to be
A young Asian hero is something to be

There’s room at the top they are telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the fools on the hill
A young Asian hero is something to be
A young Asian hero is something to be
A young Asian hero is something to be
A young Asian hero is something to be

If you want to be happy, don’t listen to me
If you want to be happy, don’t listen to me.