We are all being told how we are supposed to behave. First our parents (and teachers and peers) tell and show us what sort of behavior is normal and acceptable; later, advertising and various public and educational campaigns try to push us towards their preferred ways of acting.
It’s a crazy world, where we seek the best decisions, but complexity makes it unlikely we will find anything but bad ones. And also good ones, for as long as we make decisions, we will get new experiences and we will tend to interpret them in a good-enough light. Shortly after finishing a dual Ph.D., […]
“You just don’t do things right.” If you’ve been reading these pages, you should be aware that I’d argue there’s much more “there” here, wherever you are, than commonly said. Too many, ubiquitous, arguments try to get people to travel and argue that it will somehow, magically, make you a better person with more experiences […]
It’s never nice to hear about plane crashes, but particularly so when one him-/herself is about to embark on air travel. (Of course, the rational mind knows that the drive to the airport is actually the greater danger, but instinct demands its due.) The crash of Asiana Flight 214 has been striking particularly close to […]
The great explorers of yore went out to “discover” more of the world, their entourage and later followers brought back plants. In fact, in many cases, the very reasons they ventured into the unknown were plants: spices or tea, for example. People migrate, they bring seeds for their prized food plants with them, too. Wherever […]
Recently, Chinese has been in the news quite a bit as a newly popular language among foreign language learners. At least, in a way. Numbers of actual learners may have risen tremendously percentage-wise, but they are still small. No wonder, with Chinese being considered one of the hardest languages to learn. Of course, that also makes […]
In a world awash with online porn, it is fascinating to see that a mere four pictures in the latest (2013) Swimsuit edition of Sport’s Illustrated, featuring “ethnic”-looking Chinese as their backdrop, can still cause a ruckus making it all the way to the New York Times’ online blogs.
Somehow, in a bout of bad timing, I got quite out of language learning at just the time the internet made it ever easier to seek out other languages. Not only that, with the web there was (and is) even a community of people who define themselves as polyglots and language learners, who support and […]
Recently, the trend in writing about China seems to have become focused on the theme of exodus. Long-term expats are leaving, and telling all about the reasons. Mark Kitto – already famously? – gave one reason in the very title of his article: “You’ll Never Be Chinese.” There is a lot to be said for […]