Wednesday, November 2nd, 9 days left
Such a yucky day. The haze just lay there. I didn’t feel like going out, had to shut my window because it smells like coal smoke. One thing I won’t miss – the awful smog here.
Didn’t do much today. Studied Chinese, watched some Chinese television, looking for the news that is covered in the U.S. papers about China (never found it). Some 80% of the shows are movies either about the “long march“, WWII against the Japanese, or old Emperor days. I did find the new rendition of True Grit in English, with the lower right corner blotted out to hide its pirated origins? There was also a Chinese news show in English. I had a hard time watching that. Coverage is pretty biased towards a negative point of view (not that U.S. news coverage is much better). I even tried watching the children’s educational shows for a bit. There are some 240 channels, which I went through, twice, before calling it a day. I guess I should be grateful that I don’t have to listen to all the campaign ads that are flooding North Carolina this week.
So I took a nap for a couple hours, answered e-mails, read through some of the Scientific American magazines I will be giving away.
I have very mixed emotions about leaving. I don’t feel like I accomplished much, but in many ways, I accomplished more than I had hoped. I don’t feel very optimistic about developing app’s in China, but I’m more realistic, and better informed. My prior beliefs and teaching have been challenged, which was one of the main objectives. I come back with more questions than when I left, but the questions are clearer, more focused.
- Do the Chinese use WeChat to connect with people they already know? Or does it introduce a person to people they don’t know, may never know, personally?
- How do businessmen trust each other? China is a huge economy. How is trust established within the country? On sites like Alibaba?
- To what extent do the Chinese use “anonymous” experts, like Ask.com or Yahoo Answers, or TripAdvisor?
- How are sites like AirBnB doing for the Chinese?
- How are violations of trust handled at sites like Didi Dache, the Uber-like app?
I think there is great potential for building trust networks in China, but they may be a little longer coming.
As for the question of software for the greater good of the community, I found no evidence that the Chinese are more “community oriented” than the U.S. It was not long ago that there was a great deal of starvation and poverty in China (1960’s). This memory is still deep and clear, giving most youth constant direction to “get yourself safe by making lots of money.” There seems to be no commitment by those who are better off to help any of those less fortunate than themselves. Philanthropy is still only a model being eyed with curiosity.
There does seem to be a deep-seated comfort in doing things together, and a reluctance to being on one’s own, away from the crowd. Some of this may stem from the training and education children receive, especially around a language that may require quite a bit more memorization and repetition to master, as well as a long and glorious history that must be acknowledged and referenced.
I ate early, made myself another fried tofu dinner. Seems that always sounds good to me. And I leave for four days tomorrow (Thailand), making tofu a good choice to clear out my fridge. This time, I tried for a mock “gong bao ji ding” aka Kung Pao Chicken, using tofu instead of chicken.
Spent the evening packing for my Thailand trip. I’m just taking my carry-on bag, but it has to hold my CPAP machine, computer, 3 days of clothes, and toiletries. I’m looking forward to seeing my friends there, and revisiting Chiang Rei and the Buddhist monasteries.