My site is back, but I’m not

Due to a server issue, TPD has been down for a couple of days. Which hardly matters, because I’m not posting at the moment. There are some amazing stories going on in China this week that’s I’d love to comment on but can’t right now. So this site may be irrelevant for another few days, sorry.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 16 Comments

Noted, with regret; fly home soon…. Do you play the balalaika Lara?…..Music

April 23, 2009 @ 9:44 pm | Comment

Richard, I do not konw how to put it. You are good, always looking for high-quality, strict but good. Please go on.

April 24, 2009 @ 1:35 am | Comment

Richard,

We Chinese NEED to be controlled.

Let me CONTROL you….

Jackie Chan

April 24, 2009 @ 11:35 am | Comment

Conscience wrote: “Richard, I do not konw how to put it. You are good,…strict but good. Please go on.”

“You can’t always get what you want. You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes…. You just might find…. What you NEED!”

Jackie Chan

April 24, 2009 @ 11:39 am | Comment

deleted

April 25, 2009 @ 12:13 am | Comment

Jackie Chan seems to be in hot water. But I think many people in China would agree with him of the spirit of his speech although not in the particular wording.

Speaking of wording, Jackie’s linguistic problem is doubly magnified since he is from Hong Kong and not very good with Mandarin for expressing highbrow concept like freedom and regulation and then his bad choice of Mandarin gets translated badly into English. All the freedom loving people in Asia and world around are now having a field day for righteousness and moral superiority.

As usually, more bad news from the US, the torture thing is hardly over and now it looks like Pakistan is falling apart.

What the US is going to do? Invading Pakistan? Abandoning Pakistan? Status quo?

We’ll see if Obama is real or fake with this Pakistan test.

April 25, 2009 @ 12:37 am | Comment

On the Issues of Singularity and Freedom

If you are well grounded in Complex Analysis, you know that the analytic function of a complex function, as long as it’s analytic, is differentiable at any order. In a way, we can interpret this as a type of “total freedom”. Because “analytic” implies “differentiability”, that is, you are capable of doing something. And differentiable at any order means you are “infinitely and completely” free.

However, analytic functions often have singularity, which is a point on the function that is not differentiable. For example the function:

f(x)=1/x

is not differentiable at x=0. We can also interpret it as the function is not free on that point. In reality, analytic functions form a field, could be a field of airflow, a field of magnetic force, a field of fluid flow, etc. In that field, except for certain singularities, all other places are free. So we’ll call those certain unfree points singularities.

For example, if I immigrated to North Korea and was asked by the local government to shout “Long Live Kim Jung Il”. Then I have to ask the gov’t, how many times per day must I shout it? If it’s only once per month, then I will happly comply. But what I am more interested in is, if I comply by this demand, what about my freedom in other aspects? If this is the only demand, and there’s no further restriction on my other freedoms, then I have no problem with it at all. This is just a certain singularity.

If I were to move to Iran, and was asked to shout: “Long Live the Allah!”. Then I will ask the local Iranian authority, other than this demand, what other restrictions are there on my freedom? If there are no significant other rstrictions, and living in Iran offer me benefits like opporutnity to get rich, to live richer lives. Then again, this demand to shout Long Live the Allah is only a singularity, and is totally ok by me, especially that I am not a religious person anyway.

Therefore, if we view any society as a field of a analytic function, then it has areas of freedom, and singularities. And to judge how free a society is, one must judge it comprehensively, and take into account the majority characteristic of the field. If there are certain singularities but do not significantly effect a person’s life, then their existence should be considered totally OK. And perhaps their existence is a way to ensure the freedom in other aspects. For example, if there is a room in which you are allowed to walk freely, but there is a column inside the room, of course you are not free to walk into that column. The space occuped by that column are the singularities. Now, will you protest and say “This is violation of human rights! Violation of freedom! Remove the column! Let me walk everywhere in the room!”. Well, if we remove the column, the room will collapse, if the room collapses, you’ll die, losing all your freedoms on 99% of the room’s space.

In a country like North Korea, or Iran, or even China. Most citizens do not have the urge to shout “Death to my government!” everyday. Most of them are busy with their lives like working on their jobs, eating food, doing household chores, etc. So the lack of freedom to shout: “Death to my government” is just a singularity, does not effect the total characteristic of the field. Of course, if you are someone who must shout this everyday, or you’ll suffer a seizure or cardiac arrest, then you should visit a doctor immediately, this could be the symptom of serious illness.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_function
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analytic_function
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singularity

April 25, 2009 @ 4:12 am | Comment

Dear Thang Long
I konw my words appear ridiculous, but every seemingly strangeness has its reasons and defies easy judgement.

April 26, 2009 @ 10:04 am | Comment

deleted

April 26, 2009 @ 10:13 am | Comment

what is more, Thang Long your comments on Jackie Chan is so irresponsible, shut your mouth before you konw the truth.

sorry, I waste my presious time to respond to a Maniac.

April 26, 2009 @ 10:16 am | Comment

Thank you.

April 26, 2009 @ 10:29 am | Comment

deleted

April 26, 2009 @ 10:47 am | Comment

[reference to Thang's nonsense deleted]

let’s show respect to each other

I never say those harsh words to any person. sorry for those words.

mutual respect and behave yourself

From Richard: Conscience, I apologize for Thang’s immaturity.

April 26, 2009 @ 11:02 am | Comment

Seriously.

I think I still have comment zapping power. Thang Long, you are really trolling here. Stop it.

April 26, 2009 @ 12:09 pm | Comment

Apologies everyone, I’ve been busy. I’m invoking the power to zap.

Thang, I had you on “screen” for a month or two because I suspected you were trolling. I’m putting you back on the list until you prove otherwise.

April 26, 2009 @ 1:37 pm | Comment

Thank you, Richard, thank you, Otherlisa. I am really sorry Thang Long, sincerely hope you will come back soon. Wish you good luck.

April 26, 2009 @ 8:11 pm | Comment

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