Monthly Archives: July 2009

thankful for …

~ time to dream
~ places to go
~ people that inspire
~ hope that flies

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si j’avais le temps …

…  i would escape to paris
vivre la vie boheme
learning to speak without moving my lips
vivant comme s’il serait un reve
whilst the raindrops form,
si clair et brilliantes

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xinjiang incident on twitter

as a follow-up, if you’re on twitter and interested in following what’s happening i would suggest following @melissakchan .

melissa is a correspondent with al-jazeera’s english channel who is currently on the ground in urumqi, xinjiang

[update] also, @malcolmmoore of the uk telegraph has done a great job of trying to give an objective account of what has been happening.

coverage like this really adds value to services like twitter and the growth of media’s new model.

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xinjiang and the chinese media

i try my best to stay as objective as i can when it comes to news and events, but it breaks my heart to see so many dead and injured in urumqi.  it’s amazing how quickly news travels through twitter these days, but having read some of the tweets that have come out of it, i have to say — please do do your own research, especially on issues as complex and sensitive as the uyghur-han chinese conflict, and realize what a politically loaded situation this is too. it’s much too easy in this day and age to create so many extensions of stories that get retold enough times to be eventually written down as fact. the sensational headlines that media so love to highlight do little to help the situation either.

that being said, i hope that the chinese media will take this opportunity to do some objective, well-rounded reporting — in both chinese and english. it really is dangerous to have two extreme camps of chinese media — the ultra-conservative who pretend that if they go through the days with blinds on, the events that are most sensitive, and often times the most pressing and urgent, will just go away, to the ultra-liberal and impassioned dissidents who become so enamoured with their own righteous quest that they lose sight of reality and the delicate balance between what is feasible and what is idealistic theory.

the state is right about one point in its ambitions of establishing a chinese al-jazeera — there IS a desire and unmet demand by those outside china’s borders to learn about the development of this waking dragon beyond gdp figures and numbers. if chinese media can deliver that, it will be an achievement that will have lasting rippling effects beyond the media into diplomacy, internal state affairs, and basic morale.

use the talents that are the huge media organizations to report on issues that only native chinese can do best — today, we see so many “china reporters” who have minimal  knowledge of the language and whose cultural knowledge of chinese society cannot match up to those of their chinese counterparts (and quite understandably so). no matter how brilliant and well-intentioned the reporter, it is especially difficult to report on issues as sensitive and nuanced as this without a solid grasp of the language.  there is so much more value added when you can communicate with the individuals on a personal level.  i am constantly reminded at what a powerful tool GOOD media is.

empirically, we have seen the success of publications like caijing, whose in-depth coverage of china’s economic progress has won them local market share and garnered international respect. but economics is only one part of the equation; true, china’s economic success has bought it some time as people indulge in their material whims.  but for a country like china to truly prosper, progress needs to be made on other fronts as well.

china’s novel in the 21st century is only just beginning — for the rest of the story to be fairly represented, its leaders need to recognize that achieving a “harmonious society” requires more than simply trumpeting stories that headline economic and regulatory legislation or fluffy, cultural feel-good stories. instead, lend some pixels to deconstructing conflicts that will inevitably surface in ANY society, no matter how prosperous it is — that is where the true demand lies.

i sincerely hope that the chinese media will take this opportunity and take steps to being the moderate voice that china, and quite frankly the world, desparately needs. sorry that this has strayed from the original xinjiang topic, but seeing all the internet hoop-la around this event has only stressed this point more.

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the web is truly a merciless place

that gray area between meritocracy at its best and ruthless battlefield?

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