Obama in Shanghai / 奥巴马在上海,第一

Finally, a story worth reading about Obama’s trip to China.

And for the record, it’s normal for top university students to be a members of the Communist Youth League, or 青年团.  Does anyone have an idea of how hard it is to get a job for college graduates in China today?  Membership in the Youth League can often help with employment, getting recommendations, etc.  It’s a bit like a student club in the U.S., just affiliated with the state.

No one, especially the White House, should be surprised that there were students in the audience at an elite school in the People’s Republic of China, who are in the Communist Party.  After all, contrary to the Falun Gong propaganda, these are just normal people with extraordinary skills trying to find work and meaning in their lives.

And good luck finding a room full of undergraduates at any American university (besides, of course, my own stellar school, where Chinese fluency has taken hold among a select few non-native Chinese speakers) who can listen to Hu Jintao or Xi Jinping discourse in Chinese.

Full video of the Shanghai colloquy is here on the White House website.  One of the funniest and most heartening sections is when the U.S. Ambassador to China welcomes everyone in a slightly stilted yet still serviceable Mandarin.  Dare I say it? 美国加油!

哇,我的爱国情绪站起来了。  美国太牛了。  现在有意志,我国还有些思想自由; 欧洲也有这概念(当然,美国母亲的奶就是宗教自由),但那地方太旧了,死,老战院。 奥巴马 (反对“欧“ 巴马听点儿右了)说的对:太平洋就是世界的将来。  我天天在本海洋上起床!  昨晚飚飚的,有神在舞。

Sohu.com Hails the Chief

Cellistic Saint Saens Part Three

As part of my ongoing series on the Saint-Saens Cello Concerto, I should like to present the following footage from YouTube of a talented young man playing the concerto’s last movement rather stoically, but expressively, along with a canned electronic, “Music Minus One” version of the piano part.

It seems that nineteenth-century French romanticism, in its cellistic form, is alive and growing in an unknown city in South Korea.

I have to say I admire this boy’s fearless nature.

我们大提琴家怎么都不怕!  真实 – 艺术方面活动都需要那样态度; 无战不胜的。  但是琴是否敌人?  又墙建的,必须有人跳了。  野心,手静,眼高,精神飞了。 小兵不会退出。

Wenn mann etwas echt machen wurden, denn muss mann selbst mit etwas verpflichten…. ein Stuck Musik, zum beispiel.

Himalayan Shadows

In addition to the change of tone on North Korea, one of the more interesting trends in recent years in Chinese foreign policy has been the increasingly strident tone against India.

What does this have to do with Obama’s trip to Beijing?  Quite a bit, argues an Indian scholar in the Huanqiu Shibao.

In the meantime, Chinese are getting nervous about an Indian-Japanese alignment to contain China — suspicions which Hatoyama’s return to “checkbook diplomacy” in Afghanistan may confirm.


Dispensible Blog

Today this blog is dispensible; only of use for its archive.  Profundities can’t be searched for, only found.

However, working in this unmockable space yesterday afternoon,


University of Washington East Asia Library, Seattle -- photo by Adam Cathcart

I did manage to get another article submitted to a good journal.  Another 14,400 words are now in the tank of peer review.

Ai Weiwei likens the completion of a writing or architectural project to committing murder.   “I move on to the next kill,” he says in his Fa-ke Studios in Beijing.

The tide [大潮] came in huge last night in the Puget Sound; boats scraped along the bottom at midnight, but after great turbulence, by 6 a.m. were buoyed up practically to heaven.

Now I turn towards an orange glowing room in which swords clash with a muted, hazy Qin Shihuangdi; the final encounter brings a certain sharpness.

Certain musicians listen not to their own recordings.