22 June, 2005

portrait of da shan gray

I won’t explain the title for people who don’t get the cultural reference (hint: he was in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen film although he was never a character in the comic). Nevertheless, it seems that Richard Willmsen has completed the final chapter of the Da Shan Dynasty. I recommend reading the whole thing, but I’m linking to Part Seven.:

Don’t call me sir. My name’s Richard. What’s your name again?
"Jamily, sir. Er, Mr. Richard."
Jamily? Your name is Jamily?!? What’s your question, Jamily?
"Well, sir, it’s just that…I was thinking about that story you made us read, sir, Mr. Richard. The one about the picture. By that guy, er, Oswald Wo-’
Oscar Wilde, Jamily. What about it?
"What, sir?"
Don’t say ‘what, sir?’ It’s … oh it doesn’t matter. What’s your point, Jamily?
"Well, I was thinking, because, you know, Da Shan came to China in 1988, sir, and that other guy, the one you asked about yesterday? I did some research, and I found out that he was locked up under house arrest, sir, Mr.Richard, in 1989, so I thought-"
Are you suggesting that Zhao Ziyang was like the picture in the attic, while Da Shan is like the-
"Yes, sir, exactly, Mr. Richard, sir! And Da Shan is like the guy who couldn’t, I mean doesn’t, get any uglier!"

Cheem, but funny.

by @ 10:51 pm. Filed under Uncategorized


The Flea has discovered Singlish, from a source at Australia’s University of New England.

Since the 1960s linguists and sociologists have studied the features and the functions of English in Singapore from a number of perspectives. Those who would like to know about studies of Singapore English should look at my annotated list of the major works on Singapore English. You might also like to look at the articles which I wrote on Singapore English for Speech Therapists. David Deterding maintains a full scholarly bibliography of academic work on Singapore English.

Aiya, kena get… cheeminology! Get Coxford English lah!

(Note, my Singlish not so good. AsiaPundit admits to being ‘keng chio kia’ and rather ‘cheem.’)

by @ 10:26 pm. Filed under Culture, Singapore, Asia, East Asia, South Asia

this censorship is sponsored by…

I haven’t fully established how far the TypePad block extends or whether it is a block of all TypePad hosted sites. Fons has noted that some sites have not been affected, although from here I’m seeing a block of "anything.typepad.com" plus domain-mapped sites such as this one, Glutter and Andres Gentry.

It’s pointless to protest to Chinese authorities, of course, so I’ve decided to just take this lying down and continue to use a proxy to visit my own site and others.

Really, in cases like this nothing can be done. As the below article notes, it’s not just a matter of going up against the Chinese government, it’s also a matter of taking on major IT companies.

Picture_2 the Chinese government had no trouble keeping a firm grip on the
reins of the news media. Then came the Internet. Could the government
open the floodgates to the waves of information washing up on every
shore yet keep out the ideas it was afraid of, such as ones about
sexuality, democracy, religious expression, and Taiwanese independence?
So far, the answer has been yes. China’s Internet is the most
efficiently censored in the world. From a computer in China, try to
visit the Web site of the banned activist organization Human Rights in
China, based in New York City, and your request will be blocked by
filters in the network.Instead of the group’s home page, you’ll get an innocuous error
message such as "File not found." Hundreds, maybe thousands, of sites
are similarly blacklisted. The exact number can’t be determined and
changes daily.
Picture3Now China’s experiment in cyberspace censorship is about to take a
dramatic turn. A massive upgrade to the country’s Internet will soon
give China a robust, state-of-the-art infrastructure easily on a par
with any in the developed world. China Telecom Corp., in Beijing, is
investing US $100 million in what it calls the ChinaNet Next Carrying
Network, or CN2.

Picture5The former national telephone monopoly is snapping up new network
routers from four of the largest telecommunications equipment companies
in the world: Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks of the United States;
the French giant Alcatel; and Huawei Technologies, the only Chinese
company to get a CN2 contract. During the next 12 months, the
routers—the vertebrae of an Internet backbone—are to be installed in
200 cities throughout China’s 31 provinces, autonomous regions, and

As a demonstration of my weakness in the face of the Cisco, Juniper and Alcatel, I have decided to cave in and give them free advertising. Larger images can be obtained by clicking on the pictures. These would make keen additions to blogs hosted by TypePad, Blogspot, BlogSpirit and some other providers. I recommend that like-minded bloggers on those hosts join me in a mass display of weakness.

For those who are still not yet blocked, you can show your weakness in the face of corporate-communist collaboration by posting this:


There is no hope, surrender to Cisco and the CPC.

by @ 1:45 pm. Filed under Blogs, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Censorship

cardinal sin

Cardinal Jaime Sin of the Philippines has passed away. Though he had critics, including myself, he was - in an active sense - more instrumental in bringing down the Marcos dictatorship than Pope John Paul II was in tackling communist authoritarianism in Eastern Europe.

Rest in peace.

So the Catholic Church has lost two of its most politically-active servants this year - first Pope John Paul II and now, Cardinal Jaime sin.  He was .
He was a social conservative who always fought to have the Catholic Church play a prominent in Filipino public life whilst his religious conviction drove him to be the people’s champion against Presidential dictatorship and corruption.  He did not respect the division of Church and State, railing people against artificial birth control whilst revelling in his role as political powerbroker.
But just like you take the good times with the bad, you do the same with people.

Also visit By Jove.:


by @ 8:13 am. Filed under Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Philippines

the esperanto gap

Wanbro points to a distressing China Daily item noting that China’s use of Esperanto is declining, and that the Esperanto gap between China and Europe is widening.:

"There are much fewer Chinese Esperanto speakers than European ones. Besides, their language proficiency is also lower," Yu said, adding that Esperanto is far from a "universal language" in China.
The statistics show that only 10 percent of the 10,000 Chinese speakers can use the language to conduct in-depth discussion while 40 percent are only capable of daily conversation and the other 50 percent merely know several sentences.
Yu said it is because Chinese, based on the pictographic system, is much more different from Esperanto than European languages. The difference causes difficulties in learning Esperanto for Chinese people.
However, this conclusion can hardly explain why there is a nationwide mania for English, which is also a European language.

Indeed, I’m puzzled. If anyone can think of a reason why English is more popular than Esperanto over here, please do leave a comment.

This is also troubling given China’s growing gap with Taiwan in the study of Yiddish.

by @ 7:57 am. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

chinese news and nationalism

Red Star News points to an item suggesting that market forces, particularly relating to the development of a competitive (though not free) media in China, are also a driving force behind rising nationalism.:

A personal anecdote serves to illustrate how the market, as much as government censorship by the Department of Propaganda and the Press and Publications Administration, is often responsible for this type of editorial decision.
A few years ago, the editors of a Beijing-based weekly with which I am acquainted were deadlocked over which article to put on their front page. The choice was between a minor story critical of Taiwan and a larger piece about a domestic issue of potentially historic significance. Unable to get his staff to reach a consensus, the chief executive decided to ask the newspaper’s distributor for his opinion. The distributor had not graduated from high school, but he knew readers’ tastes well. “Condemn Taiwan, of course,” he said. The chief executive issued his order accordingly.

Pandering to jingoistic nationalism to increase market share is reprehensible behavior. I’m so glad that doesn’t happen in America.

by @ 7:43 am. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia, Media

israeli arms to china

Michael Turton prefaces a look at Israeli arms and related technologies to China with this comment.:

Many years ago, when I was working for an independence-related organization in Washington DC, I asked one of Stephen Solarz’ staffers why the Jewish Congressman from New York City was so interested in Taiwan affairs. The staffer replied that the Congressman, long a friend of the island and one of its most influential Congressional supporters during the 1980s, saw Taiwan and Israel as small nations threatened by mighty numbers from without, and needing the support of great powers, two examples of the same case, moral commitments both. One could not be honored without the other also being honored.
It is thus hard to see Israeli arms sales to China — most recently upgrades for China’s drones — as anything but the most extreme perfidy.

Perfidy may be a bit harsh, as well as one of those words that sends people to a dictionary, but Israel’s move to get closer to China militarily and diplomatically is an exceptionally short-sighted one. While China has become a bigger arms market than Taiwan in unadjusted terms, Israel’s best interest has been and will continue to be in maintaining a warm relationship with Washington. Cuddling up to Beijing is not going to win it another ally on the Security Council.

by @ 7:08 am. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

china blogger opposes use of “freedom,” “democracy”

Bingfeng Teahouse has written a provocative article in support of Microsoft’s unilateral decision to prohibit words such as "freedom" and "democracy" from the titles of blogs hosted on the MSN Spaces China service.

…Bingfeng dismissed the accusation that Microsoft’s behavior harms Chinese bloggers as simplistic and naive. Bingfeng told us his story with the Microsoft Groups, in which he was actively involoved into a movie fan club and later the fan club evolved into a virtual self-governing organization, with club chairman, CTO, CFO (for off-line activities), etc. are all elected by club members. This story, Bingfeng says, shows how important to offer such places to young people in China instead of chanting for several nice words to appear on the web. On-line communities offer the Chinese youngsters a golden opportunity to learn the skills that are critical to building a civil society in China. Given the current circumstances and constraints, Microsoft did something good to Chinese bloggers, not the opposite.

I’ve heard similar arguments from mr brown, vis-a-vis Singapore blogging, and they are worth debating. Still, I doubt mr brown would defend the banning of specific words.

Nor, for that matter does the Communist Party require it. Microsoft is going well beyond what the CPC demands in terms of censorship.

Does it make business sense?  Maybe, there is the mythical ‘China market’ to consider. Microsoft has to always keep in mind that there are 1.3 billion people over here in need of a single copy of Windows XP to pirate.

But given that Microsoft’s biggest market is in the US, I think the company made a disastrous slip with this. Sure, Cisco has been supporting China’s censorship for years - but they never banned ‘freedom’

Americans are ‘a bit sensitive’ about such things. I doubt many will find this excusable.

I certainly don’t.

(Full disclosure: I use a Mac, I browse with Firefox, I do own an xbox but I think I’ll switch to playstation rather than upgrade with the 360.)

by @ 12:06 am. Filed under Uncategorized

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