Friday, February 25, 2011

The Chinese people have stood up!

Our rhetoric professor challenged us to write a William Blake-esque poem about social ills. It's not the best, and the rhyme breaks down in parts, but here's mine.

Humor me - read it out loud.

The Chinese People Have Stood Up!

The Chinese people have stood up! [1]

Olympic and Expo fever erupts.

Tiananmen wants your land and your house,

All for national interest, you better move out.

The lonely woman living on a slope,

Wringing her hands, fingering her rope,

As she screams, Wo bu mai! [2]

Alone in her fight against Chai, [3]

And the claws of the unforgiving cranes,

And the shattering of her window panes.

But still she sits, revered and reviled,

Standing against government excess,

Standing in way of China's progress.

Finally, a Chinese person has stood up!

(Photo cred: Taipei Times "Woman Refuses to Give Up Home")

[1] The Chinese are fiercely proud of the Olympics because it shows that the Chinese are now strong and prosperous. This line was the common cry on the streets during Olympics; it also echoes the Chinese national anthem.
[2] I won't sell!
[3] Beijing is plastered with Chai (To demolish) signs. The people are pressured to move. The government is tearing down centuries-old neighborhoods for shiny shopping mall complexes.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I've only ever asked four or five people about the legendary Econometrics class (or Stats) that all IR majors have to take. One was in the middle of throwing his papers onto the floor and stomping on them. The other simply burst into tears. While it was by no means a representative sample where n > 30 and I can compute a z-score and p-value, it was enough for me.

So, I procrastinated it till the one of the last semesters of my college career. And I promised that I wouldn't cry over it. And to recycle my old assignments in a civil manner.

On the first day of my Econometrics class, somebody asked how hard the class would be. The professor smirked and threw up a slide with quotes from previous students:

"I spent more than twenty hours a week on this class."

(The following one is the professor's favorite)

"Imagine getting kicked in the face while doing incline push-ups in the mud. That is pretty much how I felt taking this class. It was the most intense class I have ever taken, and at some points made me consider taking up drinking. I get anxious just walking past the MARB now because of this class."

Sadistically, I've enjoyed it so far. But I don't think people around me have. The mean amount of time I spend talking to people about stuff not related to econometrics, Golden Key, TA job, and church is probably 15 minutes, with a standard deviation of five minutes.

But I'm reaching the point where the trade off of immaculate weekly projects and relationships is getting too steep.

And I already broke one of my promises.


Yet another all-nighter, here I go.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Our Common Cause

"If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. 
But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together." 
- Aboriginal Activist Group

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

High Rollers

I punched in the department printer code to print something off for my Chinese class today . . .

Balance: 99, 578.30


All I keep thinking is that I can buy 110, 643 Twix bars from the vending machine with that money.