Democracy in China: an oxymoron?

April 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize may have generated international uproar about social rights and democracy in China, but Chinese leaders were talking about these ideals more than 25 years ago. Ironically, Chairman Deng Xiaoping’s 1985 speech, which expresses a desire “to expand political democracy,” for “corresponding social reforms,” and to “preserve world peace,” seems like an anachronistically appropriate response to the Norwegian committee’s decision. For Chairman Deng (like Chairman Mao), democracy is fundamental to Chinese development, but it must be combined with the rule of law and practiced under the leadership of the CCP. Most importantly, it will never look like Western democracy. « Read the rest of this entry »


Ai! Weiwei too much confusion

April 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Ai Weiwei, a very high-profile Chinese artist and dissident, was accosted in a government crackdown last Sunday, April 3. Two days later, New York Times columnist Holland Cotter championed Ai Weiwei as a hero standing up against an oppressive regime. What could have been an exhausted and hackneyed argument was redeemed when Cotter presented Ai Weiwei as the proponent of both Western and Chinese ideals. Cotter depicts Mr. Ai not only as a bohemian artist who pits himself against the system for the sake of beauty, but also as a Chinese intellectual who outspokenly criticizes corrupt rulers for the sake of morality.

I am not going to contest the recent apprehension of Ai Weiwei. I am also not going to attack the bulk of what Cotter said in his piece, “An Artist Takes Role of China’s Conscience.” I am, however, going to contend with six sentences in his column. « Read the rest of this entry »

Wiling the 100% perfect guy

April 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Even in this modern era of non-committal, non-attachment arrangements, I still find my girlfriends yearning to find Mr. Right. They often say, “I wish I could find the 100 percent perfect guy,” but I wish they would take that statement to the logical next step: “In order to get the perfect guy, I must be the perfect girl myself.”

My friends at Holstee have a great line in their manifesto, “If you’re looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing the things you love.” I can’t stress this enough, in a farcical, teenage-magazine type of way — be the best you can be, so that when the right one comes along, he’ll stay. Be the best you can be, so that when the right one comes along, you can say, “I worked all my life to be the person I am today.” Meeting each other might have been luck, but staying together is more than that.

Before your happy ending, though, here’s why you might need to make the first move. « Read the rest of this entry »

First ladies, second to none

April 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

Why do we celebrate the achievements of the men at the helm and forget about the triumphs of their partners? I propose that we have a First Ladies’ Day to complement Presidents’ Day. The holiday would serve as a way to remind ourselves that not only are our Presidents the most powerful men in the world, but that our First Ladies are the most powerful women in the world. Though they bear the unchosen obligation of supporting their husbands’ campaigns and presidential careers, they aren’t called First Wives for a very good reason. They are not just wives, they are leaders in their own right. They sacrifice for the country through their creativity, sensitivity and fearless dedication to their principles, families and the American people. « Read the rest of this entry »

China as Rabbit, or Groupon’s Deal of the Day

April 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Groupon has played a great game in the past two years. With an unbelievable investment of capital, a solid base of fans in every major city, and a team of incredibly driven people, they’ve expanded to over 40 countries and 250 cities.

On pace to reach $1 billion in sales faster than any company has yet done so, they don’t just want to make money — they want to set records. Recently, they turned down a $6 billion offer from Google (courageous for many, foolish for some) in hopes of a $15 billion valuation come time for IPO. All in all, Groupon’s recent entrance into the precarious Chinese market is the crowning example of nothing but their indefatigable spirit and determination. « Read the rest of this entry »

The serious business of gaming to learn

April 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

It’s quite possible that no single factor has ever played a larger role in augmenting the size of the hermit community than “World of Warcraft.” Since the launch of the Warcraft franchise in 1994, the game has made homebodies of more than 12 million gamers worldwide. And it’s quite the busy collection of bees, too, completing more than 16 million quests and auctioning off 3.5 million items daily. Of course, many (especially those at elite institutions like Yale) are likely to scoff at such accomplishments: “So what if you’re a Level 85 Paladin? I’m L33T in real life.” But they may be surprised to learn that celebrities like Mila Kunis, Kate Beckinsale, Elijah Wood, Cameron Diaz and even Jenna Jameson all lead double lives as inhabitants of the world of Azeroth. « Read the rest of this entry »

Responding to Chua

April 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Let’s accept for a moment that Amy Chua is right. Let’s accept that Chinese children are, indeed, brought up in a manner that produces “stereotypically successful” kids. Let’s accept that these kids are a source of pride for their parents — but let’s understand that they also pose one of the biggest challenges for China. « Read the rest of this entry »