Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Current State of My Chinese Study

Recently, I've been studying Chinese really well. I still feel far from "fluent" and wish I was leaps and bounds better, but I'm not sure I'll ever feel that great about my Chinese.

I'm beginning to realize more and more that, for me, studying Chinese is a lot like playing the guitar: I'll never be satisfied with where I'm at. I'd be lying to myself if I said that I haven't improved (in both guitar and Chinese), but I just feel so far from where I want to ultimately be.

Although frustrating, I'm not sure that having such resistant feelings towards contentment is a bad thing.

I'm 100% committed to SuperMemo. Avid readers of my blog know that I began using the spaced repetition study method this past Spring.

It is simply unbelievable. I don't know where I would be without SuperMemo. Trying to learn Chinese without it seems incomprehensible to me now. I turned my two best friends in Xi'an on to SuperMemo and the three of us are fully committed.

The following photos show just how strong my commitment actually is:

I'm now up to pile "BJ" on my Chinese flashcards. This means that I've already used "A" through "Z", "AA" through "AZ," and have recently gone from "BA" to "BJ."

By my calculation, that means I have 62 piles of flashcards integrated into my SuperMemo study method. I roughly have between 25 and 35 flashcards in each of those piles. So that means I have between 1,550 and 2,170 Chinese flashcards made.

I'd say that all of those are more or less part of my working vocabulary. Theoretically, I should know the pinyin, tones, Chinese characters, and English translation of every card in every one of those piles. Of course I don't know 100% of all these cards at any given time, but I'm getting there.

In addition to being a Chinese flashcard fiend, I'm still using my text book to develop my skills with the language.

Here are some photos from the chapter I covered last week with my teacher:

This is the last page of the previous chapter. At the end of each chapter, there is a passage with tons of new vocabulary. As you can see, there were a number of new words for me here. There are also a few reading comprehension questions to chew on. This is a traditional Chinese folk story about why the moon often looks so sad.

The beginning of Chapter 18. This is an article about the benefits and drawbacks of living in "the era of cards." The "cards" this chapter is referring to are credit cards and things like that. Quite a timely topic for me to be studying these days.

More of the passage and a cheesy dialog between two students studying Chinese in China.

The end of the dialog and the beginning of the "New Words" section. As I go over the words with my Chinese tutor, a graduate student who I spend four hours a week one-on-one with, I make notes about the words and add any new ones that seem useful to me.

The end of the new words and a few notes on some of the words.

The chapter goes on further with some grammar and then exercises, but I'll just end my posting of the chapter here.

Like I said, I'm by no means satisfied with my Chinese. I'm more conversational, yet still trip up quite frequently. My listening, not something that SuperMemo or studying by myself can help, really needs to pick up. And I'm still quite a ways from being able to read a Chinese newspaper.

But despite these frustrations, I'm not discouraged. I'm loving studying Chinese. At this point, I see it as a life-long commitment. I'll keep getting better and I'll keep having fun with it.

I'm finding the whole endeavor to be thoroughly satisfying.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Chinese Recession

Is 7.5% growth considered a recession? In China it is.

From the BBC:

The World Bank says China's economy will grow by less than expected next year, adding to the country's, and Asia's economic gloom.

China's economy is expected to grow by 7.5% in 2009, according to the Bank.

A few months ago, before the global financial crisis, it predicted the Chinese economy would grow by about 9%.


Until recently, China had largely avoided the effects of the global crisis because its financial system is insulated from the rest of the world.

But that crisis is now leading to a worldwide economic recession - and that will affect China.

If people across the world have less money to spend, they will buy fewer Chinese imports; that will lead to factory closures and job loses in China.

"So far [the crisis] hasn't impacted all that much [in China], but we will see that impact intensifying," said World Bank economist Louis Kuijs.

Read On
Being a white American working and living in China, I have not had too much direct contact with the economic crisis the world is currently facing.

Although I'm only twenty-five years old and have a bachelor's degree in philosophy, I am ridiculously employable over here. Now I'll be the first to admit that having anything to do with ESL (English as a second language) teaching is not something I want to do for the rest of my life (even being a manager, which I currently am).

But it is not bad given the rest of the world's financial problems. I'm saving a (relatively) decent amount of money every month and live a very comfortable life.

Things are still going OK for us foreign devils here in China now, but I'm fairly pessimistic that things are going to continue to be like this for me and other foreigners forever.

I can't find the article doing a quick search for it now, but I recently saw an article saying that China must keep its growth rate near 10% a year or else it will begin to have social unrest and serious economic problems such as unemployment. It seems strange to me that 6% or 8% growth could put China into crisis mode, but from what I understand, this is in fact the case.

The reason for this curious phenomenon is the following: China is currently undergoing the largest mass migration in the history of the world.
In the next 25 years, 345 million people are going to move from the rural areas into the city areas, which is the biggest mass migration of people ever, anywhere," Guy Hollis, of international real estate agents Jones Lang LaSalle, told BBC World Service's Global Business programme.
Simply, China has to create jobs to give to the millions upon millions of peasants who are currently making their way from farming villages into the megalopolises that are springing up all over China.

If there are no jobs to give these displaced farmers, people throughout China will feel the effects. Life in the cities will deteriorate and the countryside will have to back in the peasants who tried to make it in the big city but failed.

Right now, China's economy seems to still be running on the inertia it's built up over the past several years. I'm not counting on China being able to maintain this though. Especially if the rest of the falls much farther than it already has as well.

I have to imagine that the boom times are coming to an end here in China though. There's no way it will stand alone while the rest of the world burns.

And if things do really get worse in the Middle Kingdom, I reckon that being a white American working and living in China would no longer guarantee decent employment like it does now.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gov. Palin celebrating Thanksgiving

I hope all of my American friends are enjoying themselves. It's one of the best days of the year in America today.

Everyone's thoughts should with the people of Mumbai and the terrorist attacks they have endured.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dealin' By Mail From Xi'an

An explanation behind Xi'an's famous "potato chips."

From the Chinglish version of The People's Daily Online:

A couple in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, was jailed yesterday for exporting drugs labeled as "potato chips", the local court said yesterday.

Li Zhanfu and her husband Tian Guowei had been sending drugs abroad by mail since May 2006, according to the Xi'an Intermediate People's Court.

Li was sentenced to 15 years in jail and fined 1.26 million yuan ($185,000), and Tian to 13 years in jail and fined 1.04 million yuan.

Both were convicted of trafficking drugs and operating an illegal business, the General Administration of Customs said.

It was the first and biggest case of selling stimulants through the Internet and the post in Shaanxi to be cracked by Xi'an customs.

Read On

Selling drugs over the internet from China... not a good idea.

Ever since those Opium Wars, China has not had the most liberal of drug policies.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Crisis = Danger + Opportunity

Last week, President-elect Obama's newly appointed chief-of-staff, Rahm Emmanuel, said the following:
"Rule one: Never allow a crisis to go to waste," Emanuel said. "They are opportunities to do big things."
This quote from Emmanuel reminds me of another Democrat from fifty years ago.

On April 12th, 1959 in Indianapolis, then presidential candidate John F. Kennedy said the following:
When written in Chinese, the word "crisis" is composed of two characters - one represents danger and one represents opportunity.
This reference from Kennendy popularized the notion about the unique nature to Chinese's word for "crisis." Al Gore, Condoleeza Rice, and even the Simpsons have all used this idea. In fact, there is even a Wikipedia page entitled - "Chinese translation of crisis" - which gives information surrounding this translation.

Unfortunately, it appears as if this phenomenon is too good to be true.

A detailed debunking (one might say pwnage) of this translation can be found at the website from the Sinologist Victor Maer:
There is a widespread public misperception, particularly among the New Age sector, that the Chinese word for "crisis" is composed of elements that signify "danger" and "opportunity." I first encountered this curious specimen of oriental wisdom about ten years ago at an altitude of 35,000 feet sitting next to an American executive. He was intently studying a bound volume that had adopted this notorious formulation as the basic premise of its method for making increased profits even when the market is falling. At that moment, I didn't have the heart to disappoint my gullible neighbor who was blissfully imbibing what he assumed were the gems of Far Eastern sagacity enshrined within the pages of his workbook. Now, however, the damage from this kind of pseudo-profundity has reached such gross proportions that I feel obliged, as a responsible Sinologist, to take counteraction.

Read On
While my studying of Chinese is not anywhere near to the point of being able to fully understand what Mair is saying, I see his main points.

I know both the characters that make up the word crisis: 危机. I know 危 from the word 危险, which means "danger." And I know 会 from a variety of different phrases and usages: meaning to be able to do a learned thing, meaning something will happen in the future, and the words a "meeting" (开会), a "date" (约会), and "opportunity" (机会).

On the surface, I would say that Kennedy's interpretation of the word 危机 is correct. But I suppose that proves that my Chinese isn't that thorough.

I've asked Chinese people about 危机 before. They all agreed with Maer and said that I shouldn't read too much into this romanticized translation. Even after being shot down a bit from Chinese people, I still thought it was pretty cool.

Upon reading Maer's article though, I will all together drop 危机 from what I considered to be a "pretty interesting insight into Chinese linguistics and, possibly, Chinese people's worldview."

I'm also abandoning the notion I've flirted with for a few years which involved getting a small tattoo of 危机 on my back.

Oh yeah, and Emmanuel's quote from the beginning of the article also is not nearly as romantic as before.

We're all screwed on this economic crisis.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

China to the Rescue in Afghanistan?

I wouldn't count on this happening, but seeing it discussed is interesting to me.

From Newsweek:

Is Beijing, which is famously allergic to intervention, about to get involved in Afghanistan? It sounds crazy, yet there are intriguing signs. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently floated the notion at a talk at the Council on Foreign Relations, calling it a "possibility for the future."

Chinese Foreign Ministry official Qin Gang quickly rebuffed the notion last week, saying that except for United Nations' peacekeeping operations, "China never sends troops abroad," and that "media reports about China sending troops to participate in Afghanistan are groundless."

Yet the idea of greater Chinese involvement is not as outlandish as it might seem.

Read On

I was talking with someone who just began living in China a couple weeks ago today and told him that while in Western China last year, I was near the border of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, and a bunch of other -stans. He had no idea that China shared borders with all of these countries.

Honestly, before I came to China, I didn't either.

In fact, western China is right smack in the dab of Central Asia.

There's no doubt that chaos amongst China's neighbors has to be discomforting.

While China certainly won't be as brazen as America's been in the region, behind-the-scenes support from the Chinese, as this article suggests, would seem reasonable to me.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hua Shan - Part 3

Some more Hua Shan photos:

A daunting staircase

A staircase cut into the mountain

A view from the East Peak

No striding here

Andy, supporting a massive rock

Me, above a small waterfall

Me, on the deadly path to the South Peak

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Underground Coal Fires

Before reading this a couple days ago, I'd never heard of naturally occurring underground coal fires. Turns out, they're responsible for a significant amount of carbon emission and pollution.

From The Houston Chronicle:

RUJIGOU, CHINA — The barren hillsides give a hint of the inferno underfoot. White smoke billows from cracks in the earth, venting a sulfurous rotten smell into the air. The rocky ground is hot to the touch, and heat penetrates the soles of shoes.

Beneath some rocks, an eerie red glow betrays an unseen hell: the epicenter of a severe underground coal fire.

"Don't stay too long," warned Ma Ping, a retired coal miner. "The gases are poisonous."

Another miner tugs on the sleeve of a visitor.

"You can cook a potato here," said Zhou Ningsheng, his face still black from a just-finished shift, as he pointed to a vent in the earth. "You can see with your own eyes."

China has the worst underground coal fires of any country on Earth. The fires destroy as much as 20 million tons of coal annually, nearly the equivalent of Germany's entire annual production.

The costs go beyond the waste of a valuable fuel, however.

Scientists blame uncontrolled coal fires as a significant source of greenhouse gases, which lead to global warming. Unnoticed by most people, the coal fires can burn for years — even decades and longer — seeping carbon dioxide, methane and other gases that warm the atmosphere.

Read On
It's amazing to think how much energy is being wasted here.

Sometimes when I see news like this, I wonder what the whole point of "going green" is.

An article in The New York Times from last April - "Why Bother?" - captures what I'm talking about:
But the drop-in-the-bucket issue is not the only problem lurking behind the “why bother” question. Let’s say I do bother, big time. I turn my life upside-down, start biking to work, plant a big garden, turn down the thermostat so low I need the Jimmy Carter signature cardigan, forsake the clothes dryer for a laundry line across the yard, trade in the station wagon for a hybrid, get off the beef, go completely local. I could theoretically do all that, but what would be the point when I know full well that halfway around the world there lives my evil twin, some carbon-footprint doppelgänger in Shanghai or Chongqing who has just bought his first car (Chinese car ownership is where ours was back in 1918), is eager to swallow every bite of meat I forswear and who’s positively itching to replace every last pound of CO2 I’m struggling no longer to emit. So what exactly would I have to show for all my trouble?

Read the whole article
This is a problem I've though a lot about the last two years.

When I can hardly see a few hundred meters in front of me because of an all-encompassing smog, I'll often think of the thousands of Toyota Priuses being sold in America. Do the people who buy those cars think that what they're doing cancels out what's going on over here?

I think it's great that people are willing to spend a lot of money on a car that doesn't emit so much carbon dioxide, but man, their actions seem so fruitless in the grand scheme of things.

To truly curb carbon emissions, we're going to have to do a lot more than simply switching to small, fuel-efficient cars.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More Americans Studying Abroad in China

Young Americans are seeing China as a good place to spend a semester or a year of college.

From The New York Times:

Record numbers of American students are studying abroad, with especially strong growth in educational exchanges with China, the annual report by the Institute on International Education found.

The number of Americans studying in China increased by 25 percent, and the number of Chinese students studying at American universities increased by 20 percent last year, according to the report, “Open Doors 2008.”

“Interest in China is growing dramatically, and I think we’ll see even sharper increases in next year’s report,” said Allan E. Goodman, president of the institute. “People used to go to China to study the history and language, and many still do, but with China looming so large in all our futures, there’s been a real shift, and more students go for an understanding of what’s happening economically and politically.”

While the traditional study-abroad sites for Americans — Britain, Italy, Spain and France — still attract more students from the United States, the report found that China is now the fifth-most-popular destination.

Read On
I studied abroad in Maastricht, The Netherlands in the fall of 2003. It was without a doubt four of the best months of my life. Living abroad taught me so much about myself and about life. I wouldn't trade the experiences I had studying abroad for anything in the world.

While studying in The Netherlands and coming to China to work after I graduated aren't directly connected, there's no doubt that living in Holland expanded my horizons enough to where it seemed like a good idea to come over to China by myself.

Personally, I think China would be a great place to spend time as a college student. So much can be learned from China's vastly different culture, formally studying Chinese could be very valuable, and, if in a big city, China's night life can be great.

And Chinese women aren't too bad either.

I'd recommend studying abroad anywhere to any college student who has the means to do so and is at all interested the idea.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hua Shan - Part 2

Here are some more pictures from my two days at Hua Shan:

I really like this photo. It's so... bubbly (I suppose is the right word).

This little hut juts out from the East Peak. It is one of the only parts of Hua Shan that we didn't make it to.

A very long and steep staircase

A peak, through a valley

This is a waterfall on the lower part of the mountain. Left my shutter open for a while on this one.

Me overlooking the mountains

Andy took this photo. It was on a part of the mountain where people put locks to signify everlasting love and things of that sort.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Effects of China's Bailout

Will China's reinvestment of nearly 600 billion dollars into its domestic economy help the current crisis?


Brazil's President Lula told his country in September, "People ask me about the [financial] crisis, and I answer, go ask Bush. It is his crisis, not mine."

Fifty days later, British Treasury Secretary Stephen Timms told a conference of G-20 nations gathered in Sao Paulo, Brazil: "We are in extraordinary times, the global economy is facing shocks which are wholly without precedent and we need a new approach. … It is a global crisis. It therefore requires an international response."

In other words, what goes around, comes around. Global schadenfreude toward a stupid and greedy United States and its subprime mortgage meltdown has rapidly become global concern about how to rescue the world from an all-encompassing financial disaster.


One country's plan to step up
Against that backdrop, China announced a 4-trillion-yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package for its domestic economy this past Sunday. It plans to fund extensive infrastructure construction, aid poor farmers, and cut export taxes.

While China's plan has clear beneficiaries, and should help keep more laborers in their jobs and prop up domestic consumer spending, the most important (and underreported) aspect of the plan is how it will fundamentally change the economic relationship between the U.S. and China.

Read On

After the United States' endorsement of socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor last month, I was wondering when and how China would respond to the global crisis.

While I'm very skeptical of any of these bailout plans achieving their desired effects, I like the idea of China breaking free a bit from being the world's export manufacturing hub. Creating more opportunity for independent growth within China seems to be a step in the right direction.

Xi'an Goes Solar

Xi'an just opened the largest solar research facility in the world.


XI'AN, Nov 11, 2008 (AsiaPulse via COMTEX) -- Applied Materials Inc. of the United States recently kicked off the construction of its global solar energy research and development (R&D) center in Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

Applied Materials will inject US$45 million into the R&D center, which is expected to come into operation in June 2009, covering 34,000 square meters of floor space.

After completion, the new center will be the world's first solar energy R&D center integrating thin-film and crystalline silicon solar energy technologies, and it is also one of the most advanced and largest ones globally.

Read On
Hopefully, this kind of research will help put an end to China's utter dependence on coal for its power.

Although China is reliant fossil fuels, in some ways, it is quite progressive when it comes to alternative energy sources.

There are a lot of solar panels on roofs around Xi'an. In fact, there is a store selling solar-powered water heaters a few stores down from the school I work at:

Photo taken by my friend Andy at the solar water heater store

While Xi'an is by no means a green city, it is at least showing signs of life at cleaning its atrociously gray skies.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hua Shan - Part 1

Last month, I climbed Hua Shan for the third time.

It was amazing.

My friend Andy and I began climbing the mountain, from its base, at about 3:00PM. We climbed for four hours until we reached the North Peak. We spent the night there and then climbed around to the other four peaks the next day.

The first day was really nice, but the second day was rainy. Although it was pretty arduous climbing in the rain, it provided for some great shots.

Here are a number of my photos from Shaanxi's Holy Mountain.

Love this shot. Left the shutter on the lens open for 15 seconds. Such a clear and nice night.


Stairs (you don't want to fall to the left or right here)

And more stairs

This shot is a bit surreal, I think.

Clouds from above

云海 - Sea of clouds

Monday, November 10, 2008

China Gets Into the Bailout Game

China has become a proud member of the countries throwing massive amounts of money at their economic problems.

From the Associated Press:

BEIJING (AP) — China unveiled a $586 billion stimulus package Sunday in its biggest move to inoculate the world's fourth-largest economy against the global financial crisis.

Chinese and Japanese stocks soared Monday in early trading after the government's announcement. The Cabinet approved the plan to invest money in infrastructure and social welfare by the end of 2010, a statement on the government's Web site said.

Some of the money will come from the private sector. The statement did not say how much of the spending is on new projects and how much is for ventures already in the pipeline that will be speeded up.

China's export-driven economy is starting to feel the pinch of weakening U.S. and European economies, and the government has already cut key interest rates three times in less than two months in a bid to spur economic expansion.

Read On
I can't say I'm surprised by this. It seems that nearly every country has some sort of stimulus package out there now. No country wants to be Icelanded I suppose.

The article says Hu Jintao will be in Washington later this week to discuss with other nations what the plan is going forward.

It sounds as if a lot of this money from China is going to be put into infrastructure. Barack Obama really likes how much China has focused on infrastructure in the past several years. In fact, he said he wants to model much of the US' energy on rebuilding its infrastructure.

Now that's gotta get under Obama-haters' skin: Obama is envious of aspects of China's economy.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

American Colleges Want More Chinese Students

This has to be concerning for young American high-school students wanting to go to elite colleges.

From The Boston Globe:

BEIJING - Don't be fooled by the teenager's slender frame and wire-rimmed glasses. His name is Tiger - and he's an American high school student's worst nightmare.
The 16-year-old junior, as adept at proving geometry theorems as he is at defending a soccer shot, has set his sights on Harvard University. And Harvard, on him.
Just last month, Tiger and dozens of China's brightest students gathered in a five-star hotel blocks from Tiananmen Square for the final round of a math contest that planted the Crimson flag firmly in the world's most populous nation. They competed under the watchful gaze of William Fitzsimmons, Harvard's admissions dean, who has handpicked undergraduates for three decades.
Students such as Tiger, or Li Taibo in Chinese, represent the future face of elite American colleges, their greatest hope as they vie to maintain international dominance. It's especially true for Harvard, as it tries to elevate the profile of its math and sciences to be on par with its legendary humanities program.
Read On
I've been asked countless times from Chinese high school and university students about applying to American universities. They want to know which schools are the best, tips about getting in, etc.

The advice I've given out most is the following:

There are heaps of great universities and trade schools in America. Don't only focus on Harvard and Princeton since it's quite likely that you won't be able to get into those kind of schools. There are hundreds of great public and private universities outside of the Ivy League. Look at what you want specifically want to study and then find which schools have good departments in that area.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Unsustainable Lifestyles

Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, got chippy at a climate change conference yesterday.

From Reuters:

BEIJING, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said rich nations must abandon their "unsustainable lifestyle" to fight climate change and expand help to poor nations bearing the brunt of worsening droughts and rising sea levels.

Wen told the opening of a conference on Friday the financial crisis was no reason for rich nations to delay fighting global warming.

"As the global financial crisis spreads and worsens, and the world economy slows down apparently, the international community must not waver in its determination to tackle climate change," Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.

The two-day meeting is to push China's call for rich nations to fund a huge infusion of greenhouse gas-cutting technology for developing countries. But foreign officials at the meeting raised doubts about Beijing's proposal, which could stoke contention over who pays and how much.

China is widely believed to be the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from industry, power plants and vehicles lifting global temperatures. But Wen threw the onus back on rich nations, with their much higher emissions per person and long history of polluting the air.

"Developed countries shoulder the duty and responsibility to tackle climate change and should alter their unsustainable lifestyle," he told the meeting.

Read On
I can see where Wen is coming on this. Seeing Chinese people live on much less than people back in America do (and still be happy) is enlightening. The "lords of more" that control Western society are forever taking their toll on our fragile planet.

The citizens of Wen's own country could listen to his advice too though. His comments don't only apply to Western countries. China's rich strive to live like Americans. Judging by the amount of foreign cars and new condos and houses I see every day around town, it looks like scores of Chinese people are in fact reaching their dreams.

Reading this article reminds me a lot of this article about how venture capitalism is making serious investments into "green" energy production.

I'm not sure how green technologies are going to be developed - whether through private or government investment - but the sooner they can be implemented the better as far as I'm concerned.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Bubble is Bursting

China's decade-long economic hey-day is most likely over.

From The New York Times:

SHANGHAI — Each new forecast of China’s economic fortunes predicts slower growth than the forecast that preceded it.

Just as China attained supercharged growth that astounded much of the world, it appears to be slowing more sharply and more quickly than anyone anticipated.

“It’s tough to be optimistic,” said Stephen Green, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank in Shanghai. “The three engines of growth — exports, investment and consumption — have all slowed down.”

The signs are so troubling that last week Prime Minister Wen Jiabao warned that this year would be “the worst in recent years for our economic development.”

A series of government reports released over the last few weeks indicated that China’s export juggernaut was moderating. Real estate construction projects are being suspended. Consumer confidence is in decline. And many factories in southern China are closing, putting tens of thousands of migrant laborers out of work.

Read On

It'd be foolish to think that any country is going to get out of the current economic crisis unscathed. In a globalized world, we're all in it together.

Whenever I tell people outside of China that I'm learning Chinese, they often remark that I'll be able to make a lot of money one day with this skill. With China's recent economic growth over the past several years, I see where they're coming from.

Maybe it's true that I'll be able to take advantage financially of the hard work I'm putting into learning Chinese one day. But given the current state of the world economy, I wouldn't say that this is by any means a certain thing.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

More Chinese Reaction to Obama

Here's what a few people are saying in China about yesterday in America.

From Reuters:

BEIJING (Reuters) - China welcomed Barack Obama as a youthful president-elect with the energy to tackle the financial crisis now threatening its economy and an ethnic heritage that could help America reach out to the rest of the world.

Excitement about the billion dollar race filtered down to the streets of Beijing on Wednesday, where ordinary Chinese citizens who have never voted themselves and some who could not even name the candidates embraced Obama's message of change.

"The black guy is a good choice, he has so much more energy than the other one, who was far too old," said Han Xue, a new father who runs a small cigarette and alcohol store and followed the results on a television behind the counter.

The dramatic victory, in which Obama carried some states that had not voted for his Democratic party in decades, was a major boost to America's reputation.

"I am very happy U.S. history was made. I think in a lot of Chinese people's eyes America was a racist country, even today the television said that white people wouldn't vote for Obama," said Li Nan, a student at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Read On
I've heard more or less the same things from the Chinese people I've talked with. It's not as if they followed the election real closely, but they knew it was going on and the significance of the result.


Look at all that blue!

There wasn't much doubt going into the night what would happen, but this is still sweet.

I had an adult "English Corner" this afternoon. Believe me, the students I talked with understood the importance of this election. The ten or so students I talked with, ranging in age from twenty to forty years old, were so excited and proud about America's decision.

I've been on cloud nine all day.

Honestly, today's reminded me a lot of a day I had a few months ago:

Today has been such a happy day for me and my country.

My friends from a range of different countries - China, America, England, Australia - are all going out tonight to celebrate the victory. All of my friends from other countries are surprised and happy with the decision America's made.

I'll finish this post with a few pictures:

From Obama, Japan

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Watching Results on the Internet

For anyone in China, abroad, or not next to a computer in America, I just found out about yesterday.

I'm streaming CNN live. It's awesome.

Monday, November 3, 2008

My Electoral Map - An Obama Landslide

Yeah, I'm feeling pretty bullish about Obama's map.

With these expectations, I'm possibly setting myself up for a huge disappointment. That being said, I just don't see much going McCain's direction come Tuesday.

A few things of note on my map:
  • Georgia, which has its former senator Bill Barr running as the Libertarian Party candidate, will be Obama's. Barr combined with record black turnout will seal the deal for Georgia's 15 electoral votes.
  • The tried and true red state of Montana, which is becoming a much lighter shade of red with a progressive governor and senator in Brian Schweitzer and John Tester, will go blue.
  • The former red states: North Carolina, North Dakota, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada are also going to Obama.
  • Missouri and its difficult polling environment will stay red. This will be only the second time in over 100 years that Missouri has not voted with the winning president.
  • Obama will win Pennsylvania, McCain's last of many Hail Marys (see Palin, suspending his campaign, etc.), by over 10 points.
  • The "ground games" and enthusiastic voters of Florida and Ohio will give Obama 3 to 5 point victories in each state.
  • McCain will win his home state of Arizona by less than 3 points.
I'll very likely look at this map on Wednesday morning and see that I was way too optimistic on this. But this is what my gut and heart, combined with a bit of my brain, is telling me.

Think I'm an idiot? Show me how and why. Make your own map here and post it in the comments section.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

McCain in Deep Polling Trouble

The McCain/Palin camp has had bad news across the board for weeks. This latest polling data does not bode well for them either.

According to Mark's China Blog's poll at the top left corner of the page, Obama is winning the US Presidency by nearly thirty percentage points.

Out of the eight respondants, five are voting Obama (62.5%), two are voting McCain (25%), and one is a non-resident (12.5%).

A McCain spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

Barring a massive freeping, Obama's dominance at Mark's China Blog's poll appears as if it will carry on to election day.