Friday, May 21, 2010

The Weekly Bloggin

Canada here we come!
The dates are set.  The K family will go to Canada from June 10th to 27th. 
Chinese Learning
I am almost finished my Elementary Chinese Reader Volume #1.  I must recognize 100 characters by now.  This reader I have was printed in 1979.  

The Chinese who have seen the book wonder why I consult a volume so old.  Everyone in China seems to have a fetish only for the new.  It would seem that all that was old and valuable was destroyed in 1966-76.  And what is old here isn't worth anything.
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
So far, I find it unfunny.  Of course, I do have the snobby attitude that Sci-Fi is a deficient literary genre.  But it hasn't even gotten an involuntary laugh out of me.
Someone told me that they envied my DVD purchasing because he couldn't afford any DVDs.  And it turns out I don't have anytime to watch them.  Tony hogs the DVD player every evening.  The little bugger.
Ezra Pound
David Warren mentions Ezra Pound.  And I just so happen to be  currently on a regimen of one Pound poem a day.  Now, I know about Pound's foolishness in WWII.  Be that as it may, he was a great poet.  I found his poems all so powerful, especially some of the Chinese translations he did.
Have I performed a sacrifice for someone today?  Or on any other day, for that matter?
Do I hate Econometrics because it is complicated?  Is this the real reason I agree with Econometric detractors who see the "con" in Econometrics?  Possibly.  But there is truth in the fact that Economic measures can never have the certitude of those measures made by Physicists.  Examples: Inflation and GDP growth measures are approximations, based on arbitrary assumptions, of reality.
I am drawn to Economics for moral and philosophical reasons.  And also for the fact that I felt I was poor growing up.  I find myself also drawn to religion for the same two reasons.  I also find that this talk of this world not being worth a spit compared to the kingdom to come appealing as well.

Like Religion, Economics breeds lots of charlatans.  Most of these Economic Charlatans, however,  seem to end up as business commentators who tell you about the forest based on the tree that they do know.
China seems like a pile of brick and sand without charm or soul.
Market Society versus Market Economy
Father Raymond J. De Souza makes a distinction between the Market Economy and the Market Society.  It is a useful distinction I feel.  The former we should have as a matter of course like we have hammers and wheels -- it makes our lives materially better.  However, the latter involves an inability to separate the market from the spirit.  In the market society, gifts become obligations and are so involuntary exchanges.  Gifts, properly, should elevate the spirit of both parties.  I find gifts to be scary things -- especially in China because they mean obligations and they tell me how inadequate I am.
China seems to have evolved into a market society, or more properly an Engineer's playground - build at the expense of mere tradition seems to be its logic.  The Chinese hate the old thing (like the Chinese reader I am working with).
Funeral Procession
I happened to walk past a funeral procession last week.  I saw a band and mourners wearing black armbands.  I tried to bow in reverence but I was thrown off by sudden, loud fireworks, and cars blaring their horns at the procession to move out of their way.  The latter action would be interpreted as being very rude in the West, I am sure.  However in China, the horn is meant to warm someone you are coming from behind.  So you could argue that the horn-blaring wasn't rude.  But still...
Pearl Necklace and a tattoo
On the bus, I saw a man, eyes covered with sun glasses, wearing a short sleeve shirt with open chest.  Around his neck, he had what looked like a pearl necklace with pendant.  On his forearm, he had a tattoo.
I saw a truck swerve to avoid an electric bike attempting to cross the street at a crosswalk.  The truck driver acted like he was hard done by, though he probably approach the crossing at an excessive speed.
It is hard to determine who is hard done by in Chinese traffic.
What year was my father born?
I am fit to be tied.  I didn't know till Thursday night, what year my father was born it.
Green light means go?
Just because you have a green light doesn't mean you have a clear path.  I was being driven home Thursday at rush hour and I saw a lady pushing a long food cart against the regulated flow of traffic.
Lu Xun and Lao Zi
I reread a Lu Xun story where Lao Zi, a great Chinese philosopher, delivers a lecture to a bored audience who can't understand his accent and dialect.  Lao Zi is then forced to write the lectures down.  The possessors of the text hope some sucker will eventually buy the "claptrap".
The Chinese like this number because it sounds like "I want riches" in Chinese.  "Wo yao Ba".  "Wo yao Fa"
This bothers me in a way because my Chinese sounds like Chinese in a way, but they can't seem connect what I am trying to say to how I have mispronounced it.

1 comment:

A Disinterested Observer said...

Surely you cannot subject your family to a Greyhound trip across Canada. That is torture even for people who are used to riding for long distances. What a terrible welcome to Canada.

Seriously, just find a seat sale and fly them to your final destination. Stay over in Vancouver for a couple of nights if you want to show them the mountains.