ShaMao'er went to the drive-in theater in Beijing the other night. It shows first-run (in China) films on 3 separate screens and is quite well done (except for the stink coming from the nearby small lake). From this experience, it is clear to me why the drive-in theater quickly disappeared in the US during the late 1970's-early 1980's. I don't think it is the result of the new shopping malls at the time with their giant multiplexes or any other purely economic factor.
Instead I think the blame can be placed on bucket seats. From what I recall, most American cars back in the 50's, 60's and even early 70's had a bench seat in front. It was a whole lot more comfortable and convenient to experience the allure of the drive-in with your significant other on a bench seat rather than with buckets. Take it from me.
Seems The Economist thinks the share collapse will be no big deal. I don't think I agree but I do respect their opinion. They may be right that the exposure of the public is still pretty limited despite the recent frenzy.
Their seeming uncertainty as to whether or not shares are overvalued is a bit harder to understand. They don't seem to take into consideration the distinct possibility that the financial statements released by these companies are partially if not completely fabricated. My experience would lead me to believe this to be pretty likely.
Here's one that I do have to write something about. Better than Nothing Typically great writing, analysis and commentary from the folks at Foreign Policy. Love the phrase "Maginot-like border fences"...
Immigration is a "core issue" for ShaMao'er. My basic thought about immigration has always been; who comes? What kind of person leaves their home, everything that they know and are comfortable with, and moves permanently to an unfamiliar land with unfamiliar language and culture and where they may very well be subject to discrimination? (note: not to be compared to ShaMao'er and his ilk who are extended tourists not immigrants). My thought is that for the most part the kind of person who does this is not average and certainly not below average. The kind of person who does this is probably pretty bright and undoubtedly motivated and a risk taker. This is true regardless of any education / training he or she might have received in their home country. The dumb and lazy stay home. America should open its doors wide to these people as they are dreamers and builders and will contribute far more than they will ever take. They keep America young and vibrant. Actually, the fact that the genetic makeup of America come pretty much entirely from these sorts of people is one of the core reasons for our overall success..
The Chairman, may he live 10,000 years, has once again improved the world by telling me how to add the del.icio.us link on the left. I had not really been using delicious previously because I didnt quite see the point. Now I will use it all the time instead of making posts about stories that I think are good but don't have so much to say about.
I think that the most common theme of the ShaMao'er blog is that it is hard to know what is going on in China. I have often compared foreigners in China to swimming on top of a vast deep ocean. Most backstroke and see very little. Some breaststroke and are thus able to see a meter or so deep. That's about the best any foreigner can hope for I think regardless of the subject be it economic, political, or social.
But if you think about it, the same can be said of even a native. I am American, but can I claim to be an expert on the myriad realities that make up America? No. Instead in America, I can swim underwater a few meters maybe. On certain topics deeper and on others I am relegated to the shallows. This is of course true of Chinese in China as well.
Anyway...I had not planned to write so much introduction to get to my main topic... Which is, today I was fortunate enough to be asked to read the thesis paper of a University senior. Due to her major, it was written in English and relates to the media. I was a bit surprised at how far into what I would have thought would be dangerous political territory she was willing to stray. Excerpts:
The mass media are servants of state, mouthpiece of the Chinese government. If they are perceived to fail in that capacity, by showing a degree of editorial independence, they are censored or shut down.
The situation has improved somewhat in recent years, but foreign media are still constrained by onerous restrictions restriction imposed by Beijing.
So, back to my orginal point, what is going on in China? Does the fact that this university student is willing to write such things in her Senior thesis suggest the dawning of the middle-class revolution that economic / political precedent seems to call for? Or, is it just her personal temperment? Or, perhaps she knows that her Professor thinks in this manner and is trying to please him/her? Or, perhaps...
*At this point I think I'd be even more interested in non-state internet filtering. You look at the states who are up to this, man, what a bunch of losers.
Before anyone accuses me of bashing once again, I would like to point out that the above is not my quote. It comes from the blog of Wired editor Bruce Sterling. Mr. Sterling is referring to a BBC report on State internet filtering exerpted below:
"What's regrettable about net filtering is that almost always this is happening in the shadows. There's no place you can get an answer as a citizen from your state about how they are filtering and what is being filtered." The survey found evidence of filtering in the following countries: Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Burma/Myanmar, China, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, UAE, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Yemen.
You will note the inclusion of our beloved People's Republic in this list of "losers". Just goes to reinforce the point that I have been making to Chinese friends and acquaintances for some time that it doesn't matter how may skyscrapers they build, how fast their economy grows, how many Starbucks there are in Shanghai... as long as they have the kind of government that they do, they will never be respected in the West.
I was talking to someone the other day who said that she knew someone who had done this. She said it with admiration in her voice. Not quite sure what there is to admire here or what the point is as a whole. I suspect it all has to do with ego and lack of self-confidence. Imagine you would find quite an interesting host of mental disorders on the slopes of Everest.