All entries for August 2006

August 31, 2006

Me's got a BIKE!!!

Childish excitement aside, I found it very bouding – it immediately made me feel like a 100% Chinese person, flesh and blood! Now the stereotype is complete: eat with chopsticks, wear glasses, ride bikes!

August 27, 2006

Copyright mortgage

The debate on copyright protection has been heating up in China recently. With its abundant selection of pirate products, some cheap, some looking as good if not better than the original ones, China is really the heaven for the consumers of the copyrighted products. During my recent visit to a bookstore, where the prices on printed products have gone skywards, I realised that many of the books I wanted I literally couldn't afford. And yet I craved for those books, for the knowledge, the pictures, the stories and etc. So the copyright fees have in a way created a barrier that hinders my further development. It essentially means I can only develop proportionately to my income.

I view copyright protection as a form of protection of human rights: it protects the intellectual property that celebrates one's achievements and dignity. But on the other hand, my human right to development suggests I should be at least assisted in obtaining access to things that may help me develop as a human being, but by protecting the copyrights in such rigid manner the government essentially assists in creating a barrier for my development. Seeing as the government should ultimately be responsible for providing both rights, its input in this case should be crucial. Libraries are one way of making it work. But maybe there is a more efficient way of making copyrighted products more available, easily accessible. I'm willing to pay the full price when I have become a strong member of the society, but before I can become one, I need a copyright mortgage to help me develop and become a citizen with income.

August 25, 2006

The Word of the Day

Freelance Jihadist

Quoted from Is There Still a Terrorist Threat? by John Mueller from Foreign Affairs

August 22, 2006

Introducing Chinese Art

Just when I thought the Cultural Revolution had killed all forms of art in China, big or small, I ran into the busy populace of the re–emerging generation of modern Chinese artists whose works are undeservingly overlooked. Here are some websites where those truly significant (to my mind) works are displayed:

Amelie Art Gallery for Chinese contemporary, neoclassical and folk art

Red Gate Gallery for innovative, westernized Chinese art

Beijing Tokyo Art Projects for a mixture of Japanese and Chinese modern artworks, including architecture


Courtyard Gallery for contemporary Chinese photography

August 21, 2006

The punishment that deserves the crime

I was reading a forum article in a Chinese weekly magazine (Beijing Review) on abolishment of capital crime for corruption. Death penalty is what I call a safe conversation topic, where you can't go too far in a discussion, because every possible argument, be it pro or con, has already been uttered in one form or another. What struck me in this article though, was a reader's suggestion to use the typically Chinese approach to punishment: shame, to tackle corruption. It's a safe practice that I've experienced on myself back in primary school. If you do wrong, you are told off, but not in person – in front of all of your classmates, or, if possible, if fronts of the entire school: pupils, teachers, maintenance staff – they will all gladly give you that gaze of disdain while your capital crimes are being announced over the school radio. It used to do good to my personality – it'd made me a flawless person. But will it really work with corrupted officials?

The reader suggested that for someone who has accumulated much wealth thru corruption the worst punishment may actually be losing face, losing reputation and losing all that fortune that used to open doors for him/her. The capital punishment gives the runaway–abroad criminals a precious excuse to seek refuge in any country that does not practice or support death penalty and consequently does not repatriate criminals who may face a death sentence at home. However, for the people at home, who may have suffered the dire consequences of corruption (at any level), death penalty sometimes just seem too humane, too quick and too painless. After some careful consideration, it may seem inescapably clear that the good old shaming may actually work for the good of both the criminals and the victims. It would spare the lives of the convicted ones; it would provide some sort of an answer and consolation for the victims; and it would also make the Chinese government look better in the eyes of its western counterparts and may provide a chance for the government to track down the stolen funds and inject it back into the country's economy.

This has led me to think about punishments in general. If punishments were personalised, wouldn't they be much more efficient? After all, what's one person's candy may be another person's stick. But then again, not all criminals commit crimes out of a liking. By comparison, imprisonment is perhaps one of the most humane ways to treat offenders.

August 2006

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