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Author Archives: amber150524

Sochinalism- Socialism with Chinese Characteristics

Prior to writing this blog, I seriously considered the risks I undertake if I wish to write about a communism-related topic in a democracy country. Although currently I assess no present danger, it is rather hard for me to predict whether there will be a Third Red Scare- lest my grandson’s wife shall lose her job because I post a blog on a communism-related topic.

That being said, I think everyone knows the restriction on people’s speech is imposed much more strictly and rigidly in China than it is here in US. I have had certain blog posts, comments or statuses of my own permanently and automatically deleted, because they contained “sensitive” words or topics.

20130104091811418Aside from restrictions on speech, we do- “occasionally”- get social regulations. For example, because my city is overcrowded with cars, the municipal government came up with the plan that’s nicknamed “Even and Odd Numbers.” Basically, the regulation says that car plates that end with an even number can’t go out during rush hours on certain days of the week, and that plates ending with odd numbers can’t go out during rush hour on the rest of the days. For example, my dad’s car’s plate is A1234, because the plate ends with 4- an even number- it can’t only go out during 7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. My mom’s car’s plate ends with a 5- an odd number- it can’t go out during 7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m on Tuesday and Thursday. This regulation is particular to some big cities and are not implemented the same way throughout the country. However, on the first day of 2013, a new traffic law was indeed implemented nationally. This new regulation was implemented by The Ministry of Public Security, and it essentially just says cars are required to stop when drivers see a yellow light, as long as the vehicle hasn’t driven passed the white line. For more specifics, refer to http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/01/02/running-yellow-lights-is-illegal-in-china-now/.

Some of you might deem this an excessive amount of government regulations- and perhaps it really is, after all China follows some main ideology of socialism- but I personally didn’t think so. Growing up in this country, seeing these “regulations” on a day-to-day basis, I had a hard time realizing these regulations are there because we(meaning China) are a Socialist country. I thought this was how government was supposed to function across the globe anyway.

It turns out that I corrected my own thoughts because I now take AP US GOV and

url-1AP COM POL. I stepped into this class- literally, not figuratively- without realizing how closely government and politics are closely linked to my own life. No, when I say this I really mean it.  For my entire life I have taken trains in China named “Harmony Express” without realizing why it’s named Harmony. Why?

Simple. It’s China. We are a socialist and perhaps-communist-but-not-in-the-purest-sense county, and we Chinese have the so-called “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics” – we really do value harmony the most!

Oh, by the way, I made up the word “sochianlism” too 🙂 Don’t laugh at me on this one.

PS: For multiple spots in this essay I tried to use satire- I said one and probably meant the exactly opposite. If you caught it, feel free to leave me a comment!

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2013 in Default

 

Had George Washington Been Alive today …

This is an interesting thought that had stemmed from the US History test I took today. In the last free response question, my teacher asked us to write a mini essay. The first part should list and explain George Washington’s civic virtues. The second part should talk about what George Washing would say or do had he been alive today, and the reason for that. Here is my central argument: Had George Washing been alive today, he would probably be mad.

So what will he be mad about?Image

The short versions of the answers to this question: the two-party political system, and the long-lost neutrality in U.S. foreign policy.

1. the two-party political system

After learning the early years of Infant Republic and reading the previous blog “. . . I prefer to identify with the pizza party…”(yes I like this part of the title the most), no wonder why George Washing will be mad about our two-party political system. It’s obvious that George Washing hated political factionalism. When one of the French revolutions came along during George Washington’s presidency, the American supporters of the revolution claimed themselves to be the Democratic-Republican political society(abbreviated DR party), later evolving into Democratic-Republican political party. Although this DR party has absolutely no relationship with the contemporary Republican or Democratic party, it was probably the earliest political factions that ever existed in US history. The Framers of the Constitution considered “parties as fractious and dangerous instruments of rabble-rousing”.

But the degree to which the parties were fractious at that time is probably nowhere near today’s political factionalism. Just as the author stated in the previous blog, “There is a group of Tea Party Republicans who refuse to vote for any legislation that proposes any tax whatsoever, regardless of the predicted benefit.” If this is a point in history when the politicians have prioritized “the battle” over the entire nation, then the whole two-party system is obviously a failure.

2. the long-lost neutrality in US foreign policy

In the past summer, I attended a summer program named Ivy Scholar held at Yale, this is a program that centered political science, international affair and those sorts of stuff. One of the seminars I attended was given by a Yale doctorate student, and the topic of the seminar was the History of U.S. Intelligence Service. No doubt U.S. Intelligence Service is full of fun facts. So the teacher updated us on some interesting details of the history.

As part of the Intelligence Service, Covert Action is defined as an activity undertaken by the U.S. government that is designed to influence foreign governments, events, organizations, or persons. Covert Actions comprise of many operations, some more violent than the others. In short, Covert Action was an action in support of U.S. policy and security interests in a manner that is not attributable to the United States.

It is probably no surprise that everyone who is reading this blog now knows about 9/11. But I am sure few have really much knowledge about how that was started. But the truth was: U.S. in the 1970s, U.S. organized and supported Bin Laden and the other originators of “Al Qaeda”  to fight the Soviets.

Brzezinski, the National Security Advisor, told Al Qaeda’s forefathers – the Mujahadin:

We know of their deep belief in god – that they’re confident that their struggle will succeed. That land over – there is yours – and you’ll go back to it some day, because your fight will prevail, and you’ll have your homes, your mosques, back again, because your cause is right, and god is on your side.

The CIA was concerned about the factionalism of Afghanistan. The agency picked the Arab zealots who aided the Afghans over the “rivalry-ridden natives”, because they were  anti-Soviet and easier to read. While these people might prove to be troublesome later, the agency reasoned at the point Soviet was the one and only enemy. Later on, one of the senior officials who helped make the decisions said that even knowing what bin Latin would do later, it was still all worth the tragedy, because this “operation” played a pivotal role in Soviet’s downfall.

The history was long, and I can’t really recall most of it. But one can easily tell how much the “neutrality” , which was a focus point in Washington’s Farewell Address, had been long gone in the history. These actions are much like a chain, one circling over the other, together they could easily cause a “chain reaction”. Although at the moment, actions that are taken all seem necessary, in the long term they are potential boomerangs- when we don’t pay attention, they just fly back and hit us in the face.

The question is not even about whether we can go back to neutrality; it’s about how we can stop straying away from it so fast. Even baby steps by steps, it will take us a long way on stopping causing more troubles for ourselves. After all, in the long term, all these so-called actions and operations will only prove to be self-destructive.Image

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2012 in Default

 

An Adventure in the Closet

As everyone could tell, there are mainly two components of my title for this blog: the “adventure” and the “closet”. I believe these two nouns most accurately represent my first three weeks of the AP US Government in the Online School for Girls.

I would love to start with the first component: the intellectual adventure. As reluctant as I am to admit, the materials introduced in AP US Government are quite new to me. Grew up in China, I have very limited knowledge even of the Chinese government. So when I was asked to propose an amendment for a homework assignment, you could probably imagine me sitting in front of my desk, staring blankly into a Word document for an hour straight. By the time I actually finished the proposal, as flawed as it is, I did feel the excitement as if I had written a real Constitution of my own. Not that I am anywhere as intelligent as the Framers are- it’s simply the joy of creating something out of nothing, of starting from scratch.

      The intellectual adventure does not include knowledge alone. It is a process of gaining studying skills and time management skills. The first week in session, I did not start my homework until the weekend that it was due, partly because I didn’t have time on the week days, partly because I simply didn’t realize the amount of the workload. It turned out to be quite a disaster. I could not take detailed notes, and I had very little time to think carefully through my assignments, the content of which are very challenging to the least.

I learned from the mistakes. Starting from the second week, I tried to use more free periods and lunch time to do a little bit of the assignment every single day. Sometimes I simply have to prioritize one over the other. I truly believe that prioritizing is the key to success: schoolwork or online-schoolwork? It’s a question. I believe that in addition to the knowledge, it’s time management skills that really benefitted me.

Then there is the second part of my title: “the closet”. Believe it or not, it is incredibly hard to record a video

without disturbing others or being disturbed. This is especially true if you go to a boarding school where you share room with another person. I first learned this when I was recording for the “Response to Reading Constitution Out Loud”. Considering the fact that my roommate is in the room most of the time, it’s simply awkward to record while other people are around. I also have to be cautious not to disturb her from doing homework. Therefore, I tried to figure out some solutions by either going into the hallway or the common room, both of which did not work because too many people are hanging out in these areas. Going to library is a valid solution, but due to the 10 minutes’ walking distance, this option also becomes less than ideal.

The ultimate solution I came up involves the personal closet in my room. I find it to be perfect, because there is enough light, and it’s a closed space so I don’t have to worry about outside distractions. If you have checked the Gibbons v. Odgen case I recorded and noticed the white wall behind me as well as the relatively dark surrounding, yes, that’s my closet.

Even though I have to admit it has not been easy and smooth in the past three weeks, I can’t really express how excited I am. The ideas that we learned are gradually coming together through the case studies, such as the one we did with Katrina. It made the abstract concepts a lot more easier to understand. Once combined with facts, the concepts are becoming more vivid. They are not mere concepts anymore. And the shift in between the “ideas” and the “actions” is what really fascinates me. With this curiosity and perseverance, I am ready for a year of adventures!

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2012 in Learning