A very unfruitful yet educational day

Today has long been scheduled for the onsite survey and focus group discussion of our project group studying volunteer management and development for the Singapore Red Cross. We were at first, I’m ashamed but nevertheless have to admit, dragged into a dismissive fight over the workload exceeding expectation and obligation by our partner group, who insisted that it was not in their job description to actually conduct the survey.

We were at first reluctant to conduct the surveys too. But as we got to know the kind volunteers who signed up to do the survey, for absolutely nothing in return, and also as we got to it—everything became a matter of course. WE JUST WANTED TO DO IT RIGHT. And we did get a lot in return. We saw and understood the Singapore society much better.

1 year ago
0 notes

Dear Fellow Chinese: Do You Know What Taxes You Are Paying?

Video URL: http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/gstt0fE3ZPk/

(1) About 00:20 into the video, where it talks about Franklin’s famous line about death and taxes. The video makes another analogy between death and taxes: to die you have to pay cash, paying taxes is also paying cash. Notice the sweat on Death’s forehead? In Chinese when people say “汗”, they are saying “this is ridiculous yet what can I do about it…” There is even an image emoticon that you can type out with keyboard: ⊙﹏⊙b  

That “b” resembles a drop of sweat. 

(2) The cards being handed out bear what costs are related to a funeral, including: body storage fee, ash storage fee, exorbitantly expensive urns, exorbitantly expensive graves etc.. This mocks the fact that a whole industrial chain has formed around death, and a highly profit one at that.

(3) Since this video pokes fun at the lack of transparency and public knowledge about taxes, the idea that “even the mooncakes given to you at Mid-Autumn Festival as a bonus by your company is given to you after being sneaked a bite” is pretty funny, and no less sarcastic.

(4) Taxes plus fees make Chinese people’s burdens up to par with developed, high-income countries.

 Where does all this money go?

(5) On the selection menu of super mario game are the choices:

Going to Restaurants on Public Expenses; Administrative Spending (spent without a budget or list of spending made public and supervised);

Business Trips Supported with Public Expenses (frequently, you can lose the “business”, they are simply “trips”, ); Government Cars (bought with tax money and constantly used for officials’ private use).

The narrator pauses after the question “how to spend such a lot of money?” and he seems inhibited or reticent to tell us why. Of course, it is a rhetorical question. His reticence mocks the “sensitive” nature of his speech. Say it out loud and you might just be 河蟹 (censored). 

(6) Anyone knows what this cool guy in black and the white noises are about? Sensitive again? 

Well, it ended with bad news: Chinese authorities are gonna continue raising taxes because “current revenues simply cannot cover expenses” (what happened to “no tax without representation”?); inflation, it turns out, is also raising your taxes without you knowing it!…

2 years ago
1 note
TV vulgarity under the axe

Ha! I didn’t know we could share news directly from Globaltimes.cn to Tumblr (accessible from within China), or even Twitter and Facebook (apparently inaccessible here). Or is Globaltimes.cn meant for GFW “climbers”?

Tags: SARFT, control of TV programs, excessive entertainment on TV, Chinese Communist Party.

2 years ago
0 notes
Didn’t know church could be like a rock concert.

Didn’t know church could be like a rock concert.

2 years ago
0 notes

tumblrbot asked: WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER WHEN YOU ARE IN A BAD MOOD?

talking to a friend.

2 years ago
0 notes

A New Public Page on Renren: Rumor Crusher 人人上一个新的公共主页:谣言粉碎机

Today I saw one of my Renren friends befriended a public page called The Rumor Crusher. I was curious so I visited that page.

2 years ago
0 notes

Social Capital in Asian Societies

This is a quote of Francis Fukuyama who discusses social capital:

talking about social capital, “radius of trust” in Chinese society:

For example, in the Chinese parts of East Asia and much of Latin America, social capital resides largely in families and a rather narrow circle of personal friends. It is difficult for people to trust those outside of these narrow circles. Strangers fall into a different category than kin; a lower standard of moral behavior applies when one becomes, for example, a public official. This provides cultural reinforcement for corruption: in such societies, one feels entitled to steal on behalf of one’s family.

http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/seminar/1999/reforms/fukuyama.htm

What do you think?

Democracy and Freedom

2 years ago
0 notes
The Father of China’s Great Firewall is now on Renren.com! Well I guess his page is to answer your questions, engage in debate, or…I don’t know…be lashed out by “angry young men” of Chinese cyberspace. It’s unknown if this page is used by himself or managed for him by Renren corp. 

The Father of China’s Great Firewall is now on Renren.com! Well I guess his page is to answer your questions, engage in debate, or…I don’t know…be lashed out by “angry young men” of Chinese cyberspace. It’s unknown if this page is used by himself or managed for him by Renren corp. 

2 years ago
1 note
Tasty pasta by the Brooklyn Bridge.

Tasty pasta by the Brooklyn Bridge.

2 years ago
0 notes

Reporting Dark Side of Society=Irresponsible Reporting?: Chinese Netizens Criticize Liberal Chinese Newspapers

If you’ve read posts on the leftist website http://www.wyzxsx.com/, you’ll find harsh criticism of liberal newspapers. They’ve an entire section devoted to attacking newspapers like Southern Weekly Corp. (nanfangzhoumo, or nanzhou): http://www.wyzxsx.com/Article/Special/hanjiannandu/Index.html. If you understand Chinese, what’s in the thread: “hanjiannandu” says “Traitor Southern Metropolitan Weekly Corp”. The Southern Weekly is famous for investigative reporting where they dig up stories of official corruption, underprivileged groups, violation of rights etc. In US president Barrack Obama’s visit to China in 2009, the state-owned Xinhua News Agency didn’t get a chance to interview him while Southern Weekly was the only news agency that got to interview Obama. This is interpreted as a major act to send a message criticizing China’s lack of freedom of press. Later however, most part of Southern Weekly’s report was cut off after examination by censors. Southern Weekly was not at all reticent though and responded by leaving the lower part of their front page that day blank.

Southern Weekly leaves half of the front page blank Enough about Southern Weekly. The following is a post I saw on Renren.com, a major social networking website. It has been forwarded 14936 times and attracted 2005 answers, not including answers of forwarded posting. 

Read More

2 years ago
2 notes