All good things must come to an end

The thread that keeps on giving, now at a record 311 comments, is about to be bumped off my homepage. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say — in other words, it’s about to go to thread heaven. It was fun while it lasted.

Several commenters in the thread came up with unsolicited ideas for making this a more interesting site, and perhaps even a profitable one (that’ll be the day!). Amazon book links and book reviews…a Peking Duck gift shop with T-shirts and coffee mugs…periodic open threads to keep comments concentrated….

I’m thinking over all of them, and I appreciate the input. As i said in the Magic Thread, I’m not convinced a blog as small as this can support open threads, which hold their appeal based on steady contributions; they are usually successful on mega-blogs like Atrios and Daily Kos. But I’m willing to give it a try. Shall we consider this TPD’s first open thread?

The Discussion: 32 Comments

So I guess I’d better quickly comment then!

Does anyone know if Nongmin Diaocha has been translated into any foreign languages?

June 10, 2005 @ 4:50 pm | Comment

ESWN did a translation of much of the Survey over at zonaeuropa. I’ll find the link for you….

June 10, 2005 @ 4:54 pm | Comment

Damn – he took down all his old posts. I know he can help you with this; I’ll see what I can do.

June 10, 2005 @ 4:59 pm | Comment

Threaded comments (like those on Phil Ringnalda’s website) would be nice.

June 10, 2005 @ 5:14 pm | Comment

Martey, will you install the threading program for me? ๐Ÿ™‚

June 10, 2005 @ 5:19 pm | Comment

thanks Richard, much appreciated…

June 10, 2005 @ 5:46 pm | Comment

OtherLisa – I’m kind of trying to translate the English. Unfortunately my livelihood is interfering with the efforts. But if you look at my site I’ve got the intro up there. More to come.

June 10, 2005 @ 6:40 pm | Comment

Of course, if ESWN already did it – go with his. Shorter wait.

June 10, 2005 @ 6:40 pm | Comment

eswn did a hefty chunk, but certainly not the whole thing.

June 10, 2005 @ 6:47 pm | Comment

The instructions for installing threaded comments in Movable Type do not look impossible, but it could be difficult.

I would like to take this opportunity to note that installing additional features seems a lot easier in WordPress. Installing threaded comments on my blog involved uploading one file and clicking on a hyperlink to activate the plugin. If you wanted to migrate the blog to WordPress, I would be glad to help you.

June 10, 2005 @ 6:48 pm | Comment

Thanks a lot Martey, but that seems like it would be a massive undertaking. I’ll have to think about it carefully.

June 10, 2005 @ 6:50 pm | Comment

Thanks all, actually I am trying to help a poster on my blog, who wanted to know if it had been translated – I’ll direct him your (laowai’s) way.

June 10, 2005 @ 6:53 pm | Comment

Well, like I said, only the intro – but if I ever get this Phd on its feet I’ll be turning to the Nongmin Diaocha for some leisure translating…

June 10, 2005 @ 7:20 pm | Comment

Leisure translating? Translating is my idea of hell but that’s perhaps some indication of my written Chinese. Laowai, your written must be good mate.

Yes, I’m always impressed when ESWN features some article he/she casually translated from the Chinese.

Everytime I translate, my English language seems to go out of the window as well so the English version usually appears to have been witten by a three-year old.

Other Lisa, I understand you’re learning Chinese, how’s it coming along and what level are you already?

June 10, 2005 @ 9:29 pm | Comment

By the way, I also thought that your throwaway comment about Loofahs and falafel was funny, until I read that article you cut+pasted the link to. That was the wierdest thing.

Anyway, glad you weren’t being “shrill” again. I see that Conrad hasn’t lost any of his diplomatic skills since going off-line.

June 10, 2005 @ 10:10 pm | Comment


Oh yeah, that loofah and falafel thing really is priceless. And O’Reilly’s $ex scenes in his fiction are pretty damn funny too – as you can imagine, they got heavily quoted during that harassment suit.

As for my Chinese, I just reposted something about that, actually, at blog-city. To summarize, my written Chinese sucks – I hope to be taking a writing class this summer but the course is already filled up! Huh?! They may open another section though and I begged Laoshi to let me in. This particular class is designed so that a Chinese language background isn’t necessary – lots of people just want to learn about the characters, apparently. Anyway, my pronunciation, I am told, is pretty good. The one thing that stuck with me from my kinderhood in Beijing, apparently. My speaking ability, vocabulary, grammar, etc., kind of so-so. There’s just a lot of gaps in my vocabulary still.

But the basic problem is I spend hardly any time on it at all. Like tonight, I am supposed to be preparing for an oral presentation for the last class of the quarter. Which is tomorrow. Have I started my preparation yet? Um, well, no. Do I even have an idea what to talk about? Well, not yet.

Suggestions are welcome.

June 10, 2005 @ 10:19 pm | Comment

Oh, so I guess I’d say I’m in John at Sinosplice’s endless middle-level in Chinese…I can kind of see the next rung but I’m not there yet.

June 10, 2005 @ 10:20 pm | Comment

I’ve got a lot of respect for people who come to China, work full-time and study Chinese. Although most of my friends don’t bother past taxi-driver Chinese. Even more difficult for you working full-time and not being in China. I don’t know where you get your motivation from.

My degree subject was Modern Chinese Studies in the UK with a 2-year course at People’s University as part of the programme. 23 people started but only 11 graduated. Most students turned up during the first week, baulked at how many classes there were each week and transferred to another subject!

Still, if you’re cracking on with the language now then you should get a big kick out of your next trip here.

June 10, 2005 @ 10:34 pm | Comment

Martyn, when I started taking Chinese (I’m at UCLA extension, so it’s very part time and moves quite a bit more slowly than regular college courses), the first year, I went to Beijing after a quarter of study – I’d had a year of college Chinese back in 1981, so I might have been a little better than your average first quarter student, but…anyway, it was also the first time I’d been back to Beijing since 1980. What a trip! Then, next year, my second year of study, I went back after the first quarter. Then the third year, I went back after the first quarter – three winter trips to Beijing, yikes! But it was a great way to mark my progress.

Anyway, since then I just keep repeating the third year class, and I do get a little better over time. The last trip I took was about a year ago. That was really fun. I traveled around a bit (by myself), and it was so incredibly cool being kind of able to talk to people…I hope I can manage a trip later this year.

Right now I’m leaning towards “Yanlun ziyou he shehui hepingde maodun” (is that right?) and maybe talk about the arrest of the reporter vs. the recent publication of an article by the Taiwanese intellectual. Either that, or performance art. Whichever I have more of the vocab for…

2 years at Beida must have been an incredible foundation for you. And I’m still waiting for that self-criticism story!

June 10, 2005 @ 10:49 pm | Comment

about the chinese peasant study … you can go the ESWN blog

hit archives at the bottom and scroll down to february 28, 2004. the link will open up to another page and list all the chapters that i have translated as well as any media coverage.

June 11, 2005 @ 3:23 am | Comment

there is supposed to be a full translation of the chinese peasant study ready to come out. in order to win the win the prix ulysses, an english-language manuscript had to be submitted for the jury to read.

June 11, 2005 @ 3:25 am | Comment

Thanks ESWN, I’ll check that out later, I’m also interested to see how much of the book you’ve already translated. Your efforts are much appreciated by the way, especially since it appears to be the only English version available, at least right now.

So this is an open thread? Anyone can come on here and post anything they like, is that how it works? If it is, then I think it’s a great idea.

As well as the obvious fr*edom (must be careful with that word) of being able to raise issues, ask questions and chat, it might also help to keep off-topic posts out of the other threads.

What’s all this talk of Amazon links and book reviews? Anything on Peking Duck to do with books would be welcomed by me. Perhaps you could give every book it’s own thread so folks can comment? Is that the idea?

An Amazon link would, obviously, compliment the book threads very well. Sort of make the whole site look more professional etc.

June 11, 2005 @ 3:57 am | Comment

i am not an official translator for the chiense peasant book, so there was no reason for me to translate the whole thing. i translated certain chapters for specific reasons.

four of the chapters formed the basis for a lawsuit by a local official against the authors. i translated those chapters because i want the world to see whether the raw material should be considered libel case, as opposed to accepting the say-so of NYT/WaPo.

the other two chapters were interesting to me because it speaks of the relationship between the central government and local leaders (who decide to show them what they think the Premier wants to see).

June 11, 2005 @ 4:18 am | Comment

Why not stick an Amazon link on one of the sidebars? You’ll never make a million through an Amazon link anyway and I’m sure that none of us readers would begrudge the site paying for its own bandwidth and maybe the odd bit of software now and then. It would be even better, as Mike01 says above, if the Amazon links complimented seperate book threads. I would very much like to see the opinions of your readers before I buy a book. I think Amazon itself is the only place you can write a comment/review on a book anyway. The way I see it, it’s a natural progression/next step for The Peking Duck. I’d love to see TPD continue to grow and I’m I’m sure a lot of other readers would as well.

June 11, 2005 @ 5:37 am | Comment

Can you imagine how cool it would be for one book to have the comments of, for example, bing, bingfeng, Other Lisa, Conrad, ESWN, Martyn, FSN9 and Laowai all on the same thread?

Forget the book, that’s a review worth reading!

June 11, 2005 @ 5:41 am | Comment

Open forum?

Then I’d like to complain about a post from a total nutter (abusing China) that bingfeng has posted on his blog under the banner:

“How Some Westerners Look At Me And China”

“get it straight and get it straight now. Your filty stinking hellhole of a corrupt piss–saliva saturated culture isn’t worth anything else but to be bashed and to be bashed incessantly. Your constantly idiotic defense is so rudimentary of propaganda narrow minded immaturity that is it any f*cking wonder that foreigners when they leave your nasty corrupt cesspool nation that we have a sour, bitter taste in our mouth?”
I didn’t want to post on his blog because I was so disgusted that he used the rantings of a complete idiot (you always get 1 or 2, especially on the Net) and in a fit of blatant opportunism held up this post as if to prove what…….?

BTW, this rant was in response to bingfeng accusing somebody of…….yes, you guessed it……”China-bashing”.

Bingfeng: if a “westerner” trawled through a mainstream PRC chat and/or news forum (not just a blog), selected a post from an absolute lunatic, translated it and posted it on a blog under the headline “What some Chinese think of me and the west” you would have gone absolutely berserk, and rightly so.

Therefore, why are you doing this? What point are you trying to prove exactly? That there are 1 or 2 nutters in the world?

What anti-China stereotypes are you trying to confirm with this?

Do you look upon the idiotic rantings of a single lunatic as some sort of confirmation or evidence 0that westerners are all nasty rascists who all deep-down really hate China and want to keep it from ruling the world?

June 11, 2005 @ 8:17 am | Comment

By the way, I should mention that the abusive comments in question came from Horse’s Mouth.

HOWEVER, the Horse’s Mouth blog has nothing at all to do with the comments and particularly the views expressed. The Horse’s Mouth was simply the place where these comments were left.

June 11, 2005 @ 9:59 am | Comment

gawd…you know, some people get behind a keyboard and it’s like open season from their tiny minds to their big mouths…if that makes any sense. They’d never say 9/10ths of that kind of crap in person. It’s very cowardly, on top of a lot of other pathologies.

June 11, 2005 @ 12:07 pm | Comment

By the way, in Chinese class today the subject of “bananas” came up, so I asked Laoshi what the right term for a westerner who studied Chinese, Chinese culture, etc., was, and sure enough, she said “Egg.”

June 11, 2005 @ 9:56 pm | Comment

And on a completely different topic, this is hilarious:

June 11, 2005 @ 9:59 pm | Comment

It would be funny if it weren’t so sad, Lisa. (Love the bouncing head!)

I hope you’re keeping up with our discussion on the FLG. Bingfeng is really shining” in his latest comments.

June 11, 2005 @ 10:06 pm | Comment

yeah, I got the term “egg” from a friend of mine who commented I was “more Chinese” than she was. I have issue with the idea of “more Chinese” but I thought the imagery of an egg was funny.

June 11, 2005 @ 10:18 pm | Comment

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