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The perils of being associated with China
China’s unhealthy obsession with foreign education and degrees is a turn-off for many foreigners
BEIJING – The marketable and exploitable obsession of the Chinese for everything “Western” is legendary and has reached planetary proportions, as everything Made in China is deemed low-quality, archaic, and never quite good enough. Whether it is Western cars, Western medicine, Western architecture, or Western education -the people are flying for it. Here’s a famous analysis from China’s cultural master JI Xianlin, dating from 1996:
“We virtually worship all that is Euro-American. Hamburgers, KFC, Pizzas, and the fabricated California Beef Noodles. Anything, if labeled with foreign words, turns glamorous and shines; and multitudes of people fall over each other to get it. Even some names take on a foreign savor, individual as well as business names. As to cosmetic products, import goods have established their authority, while goods made in China have also crowned themselves with foreign appellations, to add to them a massive consumptive luster. Not strange that very patriotic mind is stricken with pangs and shame, condemning such an adulatory fad and behavior of fawning upon things foreign.”
This Chinese worship of foreign things played into the hands of big brands and multinationals who rake in huge profits and benefits from the total Westernization of China.
All this has the inevitable consequence that Chinese products and Chinese thoughts are largely marginalized, including knowledge about China, the Chinese language, and all Chinese certificates, credentials and degrees. -as your author recently told The Korea Times:
"Ironically, this is even true for the so-called "China experts.’’ Henry Kissinger (U.S.), Helmut Schmidt (Germany) and Hans Kung (Switzerland) are self-declared and respected global authorities on China ― none of them speaks a single sentence of Chinese. Strikingly, even the West’s most famed sinologists that I know of have not mastered the Chinese language, let alone earned a Chinese education.
As our university administration in the U.K. used to say, “You can spend 20 years in China and recite all the classics if you want, but it won’t earn you a degree from a Western university in Chinese Studies.”
If Western expatriates spoke Chinese and lived like the locals do, they would eventually be treated like them, with horrible consequences for the entire Western mission. They would jeopardize their entitlement to higher salaries, expat perks and Western exclusiveness. Western peers would find the natural order endangered and quickly eject those “spies” or “cultural traitors.”
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Westerners who go native with Chinese ideas are called "eggs" -outside white, inside yellow-, and are often systematically excluded from their expat community's activities, letting alone the financial support system, mostly because nobody knows what might eventually happen to them if they associated with their "brainwashed" friends. Meanwhile, the Chinese elites will quickly spot the exposed and abandoned foreign outcasts and bully or exploit them too, for the "eggs" no longer have any Western money and seem to have lost their aura of cultural superiority.
Millions of East Asians dream about going to the United States or Europe and work or study there. It's the ultimate social upgrade to them. Naturally, they will look with disbelief at those very few Westerners who chose to come to China and complete their education here in local schools and institutes of higher education. How could anyone in their senses abandon their (Western) privileges and lower themselves to the standards of a developing country -letting alone getting a Chinese university degree?
In a nutshell, whereas the Europeans, Americans, and the Japanese may encourage their students to spent a recreational exchange semester or two abroad, yet ultimately they look at their own country's education as the pinnacle of intellectual achievement, tested loyalty, and the secret to personal success, while the Chinese are often suspicious of home-grown talent and even highly reward those fellowmen who completed their full education in the West. This is not uncommon in colonial dependencies and further ministers to Western world hegemony -but is it healthy for China?
Here’s the original article entitled ‘The perils of being associated with China‘ first published in The Korea Times on May 1st, 2014.
Image credit: ChameloensEye/Shutterstock.com
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Here's a fun experiment to try. Go to your pantry and see if you have a box of spaghetti. If you do, take out a noodle. Grab both ends of it and bend it until it breaks in half. How many pieces did it break into? If you got two large pieces and at least one small piece you're not alone.
But science loves a good challenge<p>The mystery remained unsolved until 2005, when French scientists <a href="http://www.lmm.jussieu.fr/~audoly/" target="_blank">Basile Audoly</a> and <a href="http://www.lmm.jussieu.fr/~neukirch/" target="_blank">Sebastien Neukirch </a>won an <a href="https://www.improbable.com/ig/" target="_blank">Ig Nobel Prize</a>, an award given to scientists for real work which is of a less serious nature than the discoveries that win Nobel prizes, for finally determining why this happens. <a href="http://www.lmm.jussieu.fr/spaghetti/audoly_neukirch_fragmentation.pdf" target="_blank">Their paper describing the effect is wonderfully funny to read</a>, as it takes such a banal issue so seriously. </p><p>They demonstrated that when a rod is bent past a certain point, such as when spaghetti is snapped in half by bending it at the ends, a "snapback effect" is created. This causes energy to reverberate from the initial break to other parts of the rod, often leading to a second break elsewhere.</p><p>While this settled the issue of <em>why </em>spaghetti noodles break into three or more pieces, it didn't establish if they always had to break this way. The question of if the snapback could be regulated remained unsettled.</p>
Physicists, being themselves, immediately wanted to try and break pasta into two pieces using this info<p><a href="https://roheiss.wordpress.com/fun/" target="_blank">Ronald Heisser</a> and <a href="https://math.mit.edu/directory/profile.php?pid=1787" target="_blank">Vishal Patil</a>, two graduate students currently at Cornell and MIT respectively, read about Feynman's night of noodle snapping in class and were inspired to try and find what could be done to make sure the pasta always broke in two.</p><p><a href="http://news.mit.edu/2018/mit-mathematicians-solve-age-old-spaghetti-mystery-0813" target="_blank">By placing the noodles in a special machine</a> built for the task and recording the bending with a high-powered camera, the young scientists were able to observe in extreme detail exactly what each change in their snapping method did to the pasta. After breaking more than 500 noodles, they found the solution.</p>
The apparatus the MIT researchers built specifically for the task of snapping hundreds of spaghetti sticks.
(Courtesy of the researchers)
What possible application could this have?<p>The snapback effect is not limited to uncooked pasta noodles and can be applied to rods of all sorts. The discovery of how to cleanly break them in two could be applied to future engineering projects.</p><p>Likewise, knowing how things fragment and fail is always handy to know when you're trying to build things. Carbon Nanotubes, <a href="https://bigthink.com/ideafeed/carbon-nanotube-space-elevator" target="_self">super strong cylinders often hailed as the building material of the future</a>, are also rods which can be better understood thanks to this odd experiment.</p><p>Sometimes big discoveries can be inspired by silly questions. If it hadn't been for Richard Feynman bending noodles seventy years ago, we wouldn't know what we know now about how energy is dispersed through rods and how to control their fracturing. While not all silly questions will lead to such a significant discovery, they can all help us learn.</p>
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In a recent study, researchers examined how Christian nationalism is affecting the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- A new study used survey data to examine the interplay between Christian nationalism and incautious behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The researchers defined Christian nationalism as "an ideology that idealizes and advocates a fusion of American civic life with a particular type of Christian identity and culture."
- The results showed that Christian nationalism was the leading predictor that Americans engaged in incautious behavior.
A pastor at the chapel of the St. Josef Hospital on April 1, 2020 in Bochum, German
Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images<p>Christian nationalists, in general, believe the U.S. and God's will are tied together, and they want the government to embody conservative Christian values and symbols. As such, they also believe the nation's fate depends on how closely it adheres to Christianity.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unsurprisingly then, in the midst of the COVID‐19 pandemic, conservative pastors prophesied God's protection over the nation, citing America's righteous support for President Trump and the prolife agenda," the researchers write.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Correspondingly, the link between Christian nationalism and God's influence on how COVID‐19 impacts America can be seen in proclamations about God's divine judgment for its immorality―with the logic being that God is using the pandemic to draw wayward America <em>back </em>to himself, which assumes the two belong together."</p><p>The logical conclusion to this kind of thinking: America can save itself not through cautionary measures, like mask-wearing, but through devotion to God. What's more, it stands to reason that Christian nationalists are less likely to trust the media and scientists, given that these sources are generally not concerned with promoting a conservative, religious view of the world.</p><p>(The researchers note that they're unaware of any research directly linking Christian nationalism to distrust of media sources, but that they're almost certain the two are connected.)</p>
Predicted values of Americans' frequency of incautious behaviors during the COVID‐19 pandemic across values of Christian nationalism
Perry et al.<p>In the new study, the researchers examined three waves of results from the Public and Discourse Ethics Survey. One wave of the survey was issued in May, and it asked respondents to rate how often they engaged in both incautious and precautionary behaviors.</p><p>Incautious behaviors included things like "ate inside a restaurant" and "went shopping for nonessential items," while precautionary behaviors included "washed my hands more often than typical" and "wore a mask in public."</p><p>To measure Christian nationalism, the researchers asked respondents to rate how strongly they agree with statements like "the federal government should advocate Christian values" and "the success of the United States is part of God's plan."</p><p>The results suggest that, compared to other groups, Christian nationalists are far less likely to wear masks, socially distance and take other precautionary measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Christian nationalism was the leading predictor that Americans engaged in incautious behavior during the pandemic, and the second leading predictor that Americans avoided taking precautionary measures."</p><p>But that's not to say that religious beliefs are causing Americans to reject mask-wearing or social distancing. In fact, when the study accounted for Christian nationalist beliefs, the results showed that Americans with high levels of religiosity were likely to take precautionary measures for COVID-19.</p>
Limitations<p>Still, the researchers note that they're theorizing about the connections between Christian nationalism and COVID-19 behaviors, not documenting them directly. What's more, they suggest that certain experiences — such as having a family member that contracts COVID-19 — might change a Christian nationalist's behaviors during the pandemic.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Limitations notwithstanding, the implications of this study are important for understanding Americans' curious inability to quickly implement informed and reasonable strategies to overcome the threat of COVID‐19, an inability that has likely cost thousands of lives," they write.</p>
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