Minding the Borderlands

Mark Koester (@markwkoester) on the art of travel and technology

Weekly Links Nov 24, 2008


This has been a rather complex and difficult week for me battling my Korean boss and his Chinese wife as well as working through Chinese administration. It made it difficult to do much writing or reading. Anyways, here’s some readings for this week. Bon lecture!

Weekly Articles

General News-Oriented
1.) Four philosophical questions to make your brain hurt. While this article is not really the philosophy I pursue or endorse, it’s worth reminding people for the sake of promotion that last week was World Philosophy Day.

2.) Obama et l’islam, délicate équation.

Abroad-Oriented: Focus China
3.) Lenovo Goes Global, but Not Without Strife. This is a poorly-written but fascinating article about the Chinese-American computer company and their struggles through cultural and geographical distances.

4.) Go ahead, pretend you’re Cinderella and he’s Prince Charming. With the increase of wealth and the decrease in strictly conserving certain cultural traditions, an increasing number of Chinese couples are seeking more creative and imaginary ways to tie the knot through a mix of pseudo-history, symbols and storytelling.

5.) Cracks in a great wall of silence. One female journalist’s legal challenge to Chinese control over the media following a work of investigative journalism reveal “irregularities” in one of China’s major banks.

6.) China’s party hardliners want the last word. While there might be one party in China, it’s clear that different ideological and personal factions continue to fight for the future of their country.

7.) Three characteristics make fiscal policy more effective. America’s financial crisis has spilled over numerous borders, including China’s. This text from official state-media outlet specifies three ways they will improve the Chinese economy and society: 1.) “investment focuses more on people’s livelihood…with at least five measures out of ten concerning that or low-income group, for instance, building more economically affordable houses, speeding up infrastructure construction in rural areas, accelerating poverty alleviation effort, boosting the development of medical care, culture and education, speeding up ecological construction, sewage and garbage treatment, pollution prevention and post-quake relief and reconstruction” 2.) “income raise for urban and rural residents and reform of tax system are included in the measures to expand domestic demand for the first time” and 3.) “the new policy combines short-term goal with long-term one. It will help to boost economic growth and structural adjustment, encourage independent innovation, support high-tech, technical progress and the development of service sector. Furthermore, the new policy also combines investment expansion with consumption stimulation and puts forward measures such as establishing a grass-root medical care system, speeding up schoolhouse renovation in middle schools in mid and west China, pushing forward the construction of special education school and cultural centers in rural areas, accelerating the construction of economically affordable houses and low-rent houses, renovation of dangerous dwelling houses and settlement of herdsmen, as well as speeding up infrastructure construction in countryside. These measures will help boost consumption and economic growth, and build up a harmonious and well-off society.”

8.) U.N. Reports Pollution Threat in Asia. In my experience here in Hangzhou, the air in China leaves much to be desired, as this article confirms and deepens.


Weekly Statistic

100,000 Chinese migrate to EU in 2006

Weekly Educational Video

‘A Post-American World’ according to Fareed Zakaria at NEWSWEEK

The United States’ economy and financial institutions are tanking at the same time that China’s star is rising (along with numerous other countries and places on the upward rise). Here are a few examples: the biggest company is now in China, the biggest refinery is in India, the largest Farris wheel is in Singapore, and the biggest casino is in Macao. This moment seems to point to the very question of whether the world is becoming “post-American”? And, yet even if this is so, as Zakaria claims, there are certain fields where the United States will remain dominant, namely in bio-, nano-, and information-technologies, higher education and selective “first-draft” immigration.

Weekly Music Video

Rendez-vous qui sait - Benjamin Biolay
“Où est ton graine de follie?”

Weekly Quote

“We seem to believe it is possible to ward off death by following rules of good grooming.”
- Don Delillo