keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
* Via Fancy Brand, prolific tumblelog by a friend of mine: a Tibetan musical score.

* Cardboard sculptures--just amazing, the level of detail.

* Video of a wheelchair dance competition.

* A flash-style piece by [ profile] shweta_narayan on Strange Horizons, "Charms."

* Also on SH--"Origin" by Ari Goelman, a superhero story that I actually like.

* The 3rd Asian Women's Blog Carnival! Especially check out [ profile] laleia's post on perfect Chinese daughters (so, so true) and a riveting trailer for the film version of The Stoning of Soraya M. It's rated R, and though I'm normally not a fan of violence or horror, I really want to see this. Unfortunately, it's only showing in select theatres and none of them near me (not even in Philly).
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
* H.E.R.B.--Had Enough Religious Bullshit--amuses me.

* As does this humorous dialogue between an atheist and an agnostic.

* I heard on the radio that Justice Souter is retiring? Here's an article on one possible Obama pick to replace him. Look, he's Asian! Wouldn't that be nice, to have the country's first Asian ever (I think) on the Supreme Court.

* Pledge to cut the "r-word" (retard) from your life.

* Article on a white girl adopted by a black family.

* NewFoundSpecFic is seeking submissions, deadline July 5th, 2009. It is automatically nifty for the pun, O my beloved Newfoundland. Sadly, living abroad I don't qualify (must be a resident of Canada, not necessarily a citizen).

* O Canada!

* In praise of learning alphabets, not characters. YES.

* A friendly note on Dreamwidth advocacy.

* [ profile] kate_nepveu makes a detailed post about Dreamwidth that I pretty much second all the way through.

* Ooh, shape notes! Heads-up [ profile] yhlee?

* A Cool Tools review of Finale Allegro.

* From VSL, a modern instrumental composer releases one ditty (doodle? sketch? [ profile] yhlee had a good word for this but I can't remember) a day for a week. All seven are available to download for free.

* Via [ profile] yhlee, neato ultra-small artworks.

* Paper typography!
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
* From Language Log, an interesting analysis of Zhonglish (the specific Chinese-English creole of China, I presume, as opposed to Chinglish of the West).

* Via [ profile] yhlee, an article on e-publishing in China.

* Tibetans refuse to celebrate the New Year.

* On the atheist community befriending the ex-Muslim. Definitely worth reading from an intersectional perspective.

* A skeptical argument for troll-feeding. I have to agree with this: "I view troll-feeding as a useful tool in the skeptical arsenal--because I owe much of my skeptical "conversion" to reading skeptics' responses to internet trolls."

* Greta Christina on Alternet, presenting 10 Myths and Truths about Atheists. It's a great primer aimed at the totally clueless.

* On being good without God. If you want to call me immoral for possessing relative morality, of course, be my guest. Just don't expect me to pay you much attention.

* Nontheism among Friends (, Society of--aka Quakers). This made me seriously want to try out a meeting sometime, because I do value meditation and silence. But "Quaker atheist" remains somewhat of an oxymoron, especially if one is not born into the faith. And I haven't met many Asian Quakers, either.

* As a rule, I usually don't watch videos online. "Fidelity," however, was a worthwhile and worthy exception. Please click through and judge for yourself. (Warning for liberal bias.)

* And to lighten the mood, Austenbook! Pride and Prejudice as Facebook status updates.
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
Fun first: via telophase, a very addictive and simple flash game called People Bucket.

And secondly, the story that is spreading virally across the internet--a bored hacker finds possible proof of Chinese gymnast and Olympic gold medalist He Kexin's age as being, ya know, not 16. I don't know whether this would hold up in court/in front of the IOC, but it's confirmation enough for me.

Three things make a set, so here's something (semi-)lighter to ponder: a gorgeous conceptual photograph titled "Bipolar."
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
Compared to the U.S., China seems like a homogeneous country. But in addition to the Han majority, there are 55 different ethnic minorities. One, the Manchu, even ruled China during the Qing dynasty. (During which they discriminated, naturally, against Han Chinese.) When the Qing dynasty was overthrown by the Nationalist party, ethnic minorities essentially ceased to exist in federal eyes. The Communists made an effort to register various minority groups, but even then, their official names were assigned by Han. [source] Today, those with at least 1/8 ethnic minority blood are allowed to have multiple children without penalty. Pretty good, right?

But in homogeneous China, standing out from the collective is rarely beneficial. Minorities have either assimilated, adopting Western dress and blending with the Han, or endured constant exoticism. I'm certainly guilty of it--in my Chinese folk dance class, we learn dances from different minority groups and enjoy the strange costumes. Most Chinese people, I think, simply ignore the minority groups; they are recognized only when convenient, such as in the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony. Which is sad, because an important part of Chinese culture is overlooked.

And the Tibet issue--I don't know nearly enough about it. Anyone want to explain in comments? (I'm proudly pro-Tibet, for the same reason that I would be pro-Quebec secession if they ever vote to do so.)
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
Thus far, what I've read of IBARW has been excellent but largely U.S.-centric. Of course, I live in the U.S. myself, but I want to point out racism all around the world. I don't feel knowledgeable enough to analyze or elaborate on the situations, but I can present them for your consideration.

Discuss: give me more examples! Enlighten me.
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
Especially in the U.S., mainstream coverage of racism tends to focus on the black-white divide. I can assure you that Asians are also discriminated against, though perhaps more subtly (and I can't speak for any other group, or even for Asians as a whole); but that's a topic for another time. This post is about racism committed by minority groups upon other minority groups.

I want to specifically present an incident from my own life, a few weeks ago. I was at a Chinese card party, playing a variation of Tractor (with three decks, tons of fun); the other players consisted of adult family friends and one other teenager. In case you didn't know, Chinese card parties are a time both to play cards and to gossip until your throat is parched--that's what the tea is for. Somehow, the table began discussing a time when one woman had been approached by a (white) man at a gas station in a poor neighborhood. This digressed logically into a discussion of African-Americans/blacks and how "luan" (rough) they were, predominately in poor neighborhoods and thus responsible for the majority of crimes in such areas.

Slow down and reread that sentence. "Logically," I wrote. For many Chinese (perhaps extending to Asians in general, but I don't have any personal experience), especially the older immigrant generation, black people automatically connotate "luan." The educated like to think of themselves as tolerant, and when the topic comes up, so will inevitably the "exceptions"--for example, there's a perfectly nice black family on our drive. One of the kids even goes to the same daycare as my sister. This family is a "good black family," one of the minority. Whereas, if I were to bring home a black boyfriend? Interracial yellow-white relationships are still frowned upon, let alone yellow-black. When I posed it as a hypothetical situation, one card player--a man known for his strong and rarely PC views--derided such a possibility as only for Chinese women seeking green cards. Another (female) said, no wonder, black men will scare you to death.

At this card party, I got into a heated argument with the mother of a very good friend--a debate made all the more difficult by her constant assertions that she knew what was best (i.e. her opinion was automatically correct) due to her age. Likewise, my continued outspokenness--compared to the other teenager, who agreed with me but remained silent--was because my parents coddled me too much and allowed me to have a dissenting opinion. Gee, dissent; what an un-Communist novelty. (There are pros and cons to both Communism and capitalism; regardless, the former is generally not conducive to free thinking.)

And I think that were it not for IBARW, for what it taught and reminded me about the importance of activism (however small and local), I would have been silent too. Throughout my life, I have been raised with this subtle and pervasive prejudice. When I hear people around me casually make insulting and incorrect generalizations about another race, I wince inside but have largely given up the fight. When I see a dark-skinned African-American on the street, I unconsciously shied away. This is something to be ashamed of. Unconscious prejudices can be overcome through conscious effort. Furthermore, I am guilty of secondhand racism every time I let a racist comment slide by. I may not be able to commit to blogging against racism all year long, but I can speak out against it when an opportunity smiles at me.

There are other stories I could tell; one man I know has an irrational, intense hatred of Indian people. But I'm sure that I'm not the only one encountering multicultural racism; for today, I am content to point out that just because someone is being racist towards you, doesn't mean you aren't being racist towards someone else in a different context. The oppressed are also the oppressors. Belonging to a minority group doesn't give you a free gold star.
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
The Heart of the Dragon
by Alasdair Clayre
281 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Nonfiction/Historical/China

I bought two books on China at the book sale in February--and see, they're coming in handy now! It's always nice to own reference books, rather than having to deal with library due dates. This one was very useful, although I skimmed the latter parts of every chapter once it got to the Cultural Revolution. And the inside covers have a pretty map spread, which I anticipate referencing in the future.

And bonus points for using Pinyin instead of Wade-Giles!
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
What Life Was Like in the Land of the Dragon: Imperial China, A.D. 960-1368
by Time-Life Books (Denise Dersin, ed.)
144 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Nonfiction/Historical/China

This covers Song (including the Southern Song) to Tang dynasty, with emphasis on the Song and Mongol (Yuan) rules. A surprisingly helpful source of information on imperial China, especially regarding topics like culture and technology. I've used it well as a jumping-off point, although it is sometimes heavy on generalizations, being aimed at a mainstream rather than scholarly audience. Upper-class is covered in more detail than lower-class; unfortunate but only to be expected. As a plus, it is also excellently illustrated--lots of photographs of Song pottery and Tang painting. The ending is abrupt, lacking any type of conclusion; a full-page painting spread, and then nothing. Still, a good resource and one I would recommend if you happen to be also researching imperial China. I plan on seeking out the other books in the What Life Was Like series as well, for pleasure-reading.


keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)

January 2011



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