Google – “Just another company”?

Like Obama, Goggle is another entity that has enjoyed quasi-religious coverage in the media, branded with a halo and ingrained in the global psyche as the place to work, hands down, full stop. There is no place left to go after arriving at Google, right?

Since this is a universally accepted truth, this rather devastating article from the front page of today’s NY Times really took me by surprise. I admit, I, too, had been mesmerized by the image of Google as Paradise Regained. Reading the article, however, we learn there is perhaps less to Google than meets the eye.

I never thought I would find an story about day care so fascinating. But then, it’s about a lot more than day care. I suggest you go take a look.


Time for China to vote for sanctions on Zimbabwe


Little needs to be said about the horrible situation in Zimbabwe – the stolen election, the attacks on opposition supporters, holding food back from people unless they voted for the Zanu-PF. The question is, will China continue to protect Mugabe?

UN Security Council permanent members Russia and China that are friendly to Mugabe are expected to block sanctions against the Zimbabwean leader

There is an alternative view that Russia doesn’t care that much so will not use its veto – that just leaves China.

Why would China back Mugabe? The country is not energy rich, nor is it a strategic base for Chinese military forces. So might China try to protect him because it sympathises with his suppression of opposition, or because it may want to use him as a way of deflecting international attention away from its own problems? I don’t know, but it would be foolish to help him out.

With all the criticism of China in just the last year, let alone the years before that, this would be a good time to show the world that it does care about atrocities outside its own borders, that China could be a positive world leader rather than a “I’m alright, Jack” country who could never be relied upon when the chips are down.

China would have a lot to gain and nothing to lose, save the belief that one can do whatever one pleases within one’s borders. Sadly that selfish attitude might be what motivates the CCP to oppose sanctions. If China decides to block sanctions, given all that has happened/is stil happening in Zimbabwe, it would cause even more trouble for the Beijing Olympics. I would like to be pleasantly surprised, but that would only be if China votes positively for sanctions – insisting they be watered down (though the proposals are hardly punitive as they are), not voting or not vetoing would be a case of trying to have one’s cake and eat it.

For those who may be unconvinced by recent media reports of “Uncle Bob”‘s betrayal of his own people, take a look at this video.

Shepherd Yuda, 36, fled the country this week with his wife and children. He said that he hoped the film, which was made for the Guardian, would help draw further attention to the violence and corruption in Zimbabwe. Much of the footage was shot inside the country’s notorious jail system. Yuda, who has worked in the prison service for 13 years, was motivated by the intensifying violence directed towards the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the murder, two months ago, of his uncle, a MDC activist…..

“I had never seen that kind of violence before,” said Yuda, of the run-up to the election. “How can a government that claimed to be democratically elected kill its people, murder its people, torture its people?”

The film, made for Guardian Films, shows how Yuda and his colleagues at Harare central jail had to fill in their ballots in front of Zanu-PF activists. Yuda also obtained footage of Zanu-PF rallies where voters were told they should pretend to be illiterate so that an official could fill in their ballot for them on behalf of Mugabe.


Positive things about China

Note: This is a guest post by reader/commenter Ecodelta. It doesn’t necessarily reflect my own viewpoint, and it’s kind of ironic that TPD has come under attack this past year for being too positive about China. What can you do?

Ecodelta, thanks for the guest post. I hope you’re ready for some spirited comments. 🙂

Talking positive about China

I propose a post for people willing to say positive things about China.

Not a few of our Chinese posters usually complains about China bashing, and they may have a point here. Many of the posts in PD have something to do with something bad or catastrophic in the country. We seem to be fixated in the dark sides of China, but should we overlook other sides?

Yes, I know, there is much to critic about social, economic, political and environment problems, but how would you feel if the only thing anyone of you would hear about your own country? How would you feel if you will not receive any praise or at least some good comments about the efforts to improve it? About successes, about new hopes.

People in China know better than we how the situation there is, should we remember it to them all the time? They suffer it day after day, and cannot easily avoid it or change it (without risking much). And no matter how terrible it may seem to us, just go back 20, 30 or 40 years in the past. Tell me, you see any difference? For the worst or for the better?

Yet, like anyone else, they feel proud of their country, of their history, their culture and also of what they have achieved in such a sort time.

But by “bashing” them with the bad sides of their country, we risk to alienate them. We risk to loose interesting opinions and views, and also the opportunity to learn something new.

Therefore I propose I post for positive things about China. For example, just for starting.

• How about raising more than 400 millions out of poverty.
• New communication infrastructure that revolutionize (for real) transportation of good and people through the country.
• Massive movement of people from poor rural to urban areas improving their living standards.
• Young migrant women that through the possibility to get a job at the factories, get a wage that make them more independent and raise their self consciousness.
• Middle class making enough money to send their sons to better education institutions inside and abroad.
• Enough money for travelling abroad, and met for themselves the “fabled west”.
• Greater freedom for access to all kind of information, previously closed. (yes, I am aware of the limitations).
• Etc, etc, ect.

And for those of you (or us) who feel too much attracted by the “dark side” of China, please refrain yourself just for a moment, at least just for one post. No need to be impatient, there will be enough posts for criticising China, of that I am sure.

And no, I do not forget some of our respected China patriots and some of our beloved fenqins. Just do not overdo it. OK?

Regards from Ecodelta.


“It never rains in Beijing”

You should have been here tonight. Hell on earth. Torrential thunderstorms, floods, chaos and countless would-be Friday-night partyers frantically waving for available taxis that never came. I stood there for about 45 minutes, then ducked into a restaurant to eat, came back out and finally just gave up and walked home in the downpour. My shoes will probably disintegrate from the effluent I had to walk through.

I have to say, I hadn’t seen Beijing look that crazed and anarchic since the SARS days. What will happen if there’s a similarly cataclysmic thunderstorm during next month’s Games, with those millions of visitors in town? Not something I want to think about.


Can we still believe in Obama?

I’ll vote for him – I’d vote for practically any Democrat over “the Maverick” (who I once kind of respected until he showed sings of being Bush III). But all progressives with even a minimal portion of grey matter have to realize that something is really, really wrong. This is not the Obama who mesmerized us on those jubilant nights early on in the primary as he sailed from victory to victory, the one who was going to stand by principles above all else, never abandoning his moral compass. There is real cause for alarm here. Maybe, as some are saying, this is something he “has to do” to win over the center and independents. But how do we know which is the real Obama? That’s a scary question. Just how progressive is he?

And yes, I am still voting for him. And yes, I’m worried as hell as our last great hope transmogrifies into something quite different from what drew us to him a year ago.

Alarming tendencies. I’m deeply missing John Edwards and Al Gore.



Happy Birthday, CCP!

July first – the anniversary of the CCP; Canada Day; birthday of Princes Diana, and of me, too. I will celebrate by working all day in a cubicle in Haidian (which I love). Thanks for staying with me during a busy year of erratic blogging.