Ads, links, thread, etc.

I can’t see any of the google ads on the left-hand sidebar, just a big empty space. A friend in America sent me a screenshot, and they look quite naughty. Would China actually bother blocking them as part of its wholesomeness campaign?

While I am here, some quick links:

In China, tall is all and beauty is more than skin-deep. (Great post.)

Sinosplice interviews translator titan Brendan O’Kane on the joys and sorrows of performing his trade in China.

Chinageeks continues to impress with their translation of a remarkable story of another American Chinabounder-type. Only worse.

Yet another article on the mess in Tibet , this one quite level-headed and even-handed.

I’m still at my new job and living in Beijing, where winter never seems to end. Still, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Except maybe Kunming….

Site has been busy this week, not sure an open thread is needed, but here’s one just in case.

Update: Had to add this as strangest headline and story of the day:

“Md. mom pleads guilty to starving son to death in unusual deal.”

I saw that and said to myself, yes, it is most unusual to make a deal with your son to starve him to death. Turns out it’s a different kind of deal, and perhaps the strangest ever.

A former religious cult member pleaded guilty Monday to starving her 1-year-old son to death after making an unusual deal with prosecutors: If the child is resurrected, her plea will be withdrawn. Ria Ramkissoon, 22, also agreed to testify against four other members of the now-defunct religious group known as 1 Mind Ministries. All four are charged with first-degree murder in the death of Javon Thompson.

According to a statement of facts, the cult members stopped feeding the boy when he refused to say “Amen” after a meal. After Javon died, Ramkissoon sat next to his decomposing body and prayed for his resurrection.

I somehow doubt this story will have a happy ending. I keep hearing John Lennon’s line from Imagine, “and no religion, too….” I at least give China credit for getting that issue right.

The Discussion: 27 Comments

Re: Beauty link – I remember reading this last year:

Women in Shanghai can earn up to 10% more if they are “beautiful”.

And 31% less if they are “ugly”. Ouch.

March 31, 2009 @ 8:35 pm | Comment

The Google ads look pretty unobtrusive to me. As for the naughtiness, I assume you are referring to the one inviting us to “meet Chinese ladies”? It comes below a boringly respectable “tax & accounting” ad, so most readers probably won’t proceed far enough to notice it… (I must confess I didn’t even notice the ads until you pointed them out; at first glance, they look like they’re an integral part of the sidebar, what with the same background color and all)

March 31, 2009 @ 9:29 pm | Comment

Yes, that was the naughty part. Wonder why that got it blocked in China. I tend not to notice the ads either, but people actually do click on them, to my perpetual amazement.

Another great link everyone should go to now:

Oh, and it’s tragic that blogspot is blocked yet again in China, making at least one of the links in the post inaccessible.

March 31, 2009 @ 10:08 pm | Comment

@Richard – Come on, China ‘gets it right’ on religion? How about “Get’s it so catastrophically wrong that many Chinese citizens seem to jump on the first bit of voodoo nonsense that comes along”. The Chinese government gets religion ‘right’ the same way the Catholic church gets birth-control ‘right’. The measures which it thinks will protect people (which anyway are promoted in the government’s interests) have the exact opposite effect. By giving people virtually nothing in the way of education about religion, or freedom to discuss it, it strips citizens of the tools needed to understand it.

Re: the side adverts, is it me, or have the particular girls being advertised been the same age for the last three years? They don’t ever seem to get married, that’s for sure – doesn’t say much for the company’s services, does it?

March 31, 2009 @ 11:59 pm | Comment

Google ads are country specific, they show ads based on visitors’ IPs. I don’t think it has anything to do with Chinese censorship. If you are browsing American websites from China, you often see Chinese Ads on them.

I am visiting from the American midwest, I see “Asian Girls for Love & Marriage” on the main page.

Right now on the left of this page I see
“Google AdSense”
“China Tour”
“Affordable China Tours”
“I’m Happy I Lost My Job”
“Travel with Chinese Girl”

April 1, 2009 @ 12:10 am | Comment

Actually, weirdly enough, the “Asian Girls for love and marriage” ad is now gone, and has been replaced by:

“Bruce Lee’s Original Art”

“Self Defence 101”

“(Random English county) Home Security”

“Security Guards UK”

“Want Security?”

I have no idea why I’m getting all these self-defence/security messages. The only websites I’ve been surfing today except for China blogs have been intellectual property-related websites.

April 1, 2009 @ 1:01 am | Comment

Richard, thanks for the link to the Guardian article about Tibet. It is indeed even-handed.

April 1, 2009 @ 3:12 am | Comment

Hu and Obama are to have a meeting April 1st, which is either your today or your tomorrow depending on where you stand longitudinally.

April 1, 2009 @ 4:36 am | Comment

Foarp, you’re right about the Chinese government and religion. All I meant was that in China no one seems to care about religion and I see a lot of good coming from that, especially in attitudes toward contraception, gays, and lots of social issues the fundies go insane over.

April 1, 2009 @ 7:50 am | Comment

Thanks AC – wonder why mine were blank for a week. (Back now, just assorted links.)

April 1, 2009 @ 7:51 am | Comment

“Richard, thanks for the link to the Guardian article about Tibet. It is indeed even-handed.”

That’s why I gave the link and an excerpt in one of the China Daily forums yesterday. Anyone like to take a guess what view the moderators (not a very accurate job description) took of a balanced article on the issue?

April 1, 2009 @ 8:29 am | Comment

@Richard – I thoroughly expect Scientology to make deep in-roads in China. More than one person brought up the subject of ‘Dianetics’ in conversation whilst I was there, telling me that they had heard it was part of ‘科学教’ and how much they were interested in learning more about it, especially given how they had heard that many of the best and brightest in the west studied it!

April 1, 2009 @ 5:38 pm | Comment

I guess they’re thinking if they practice it they’ll get rich like Tom Cruise and John Travolta? Talk about dangerous cults….

April 1, 2009 @ 6:31 pm | Comment

I hate plastic surgery. Not so much the concept as the fact that people so often look worse afterwards, or that any gain is temporary and then looks awful. I’d be lying if I said that I would never support (that’s not saying I would encourage) a person using a medical procedure to improve themselves in a way that had no negative consequences, but as it is I think people risk far too much for the wrong reasons.

But it’s right that society, and I think this is true in so many countries, does value taller and more attractive people. Time and time again I’ve read research that says such individuals earn more than people who are less attractive and shorter. I have yet to read anything that discounts this, though if someone has come across such writing I’d like to know.

Not say “unattractive” and “short” people have no hope, but I do think things are stacked against them. Whether it’s modern attitudes, some sort of natural preference to “alpha humans”, taller and more attractive people feeling more confident, etc there is something there. In the 21st century, is it so hard to put such things aside (bar the confidence matter)? Until enough of us can and do, others will resort to operations to boost their chances of success.

April 1, 2009 @ 7:50 pm | Comment

Don’t hold your breath, Raj. It’s funny how physical discrimination that we in the West would see as illegal is perfectly natural and just the way it is here. Every resume I get has the obligatory photo; looks are a deciding factor. Height, as we’ve discussed here, is as well. And things that shouldn’t matter, like being an active HBV-3 carrier, can affect the curse of your entire life.

And let’s be honest, the prejudice toward people perceived to be “attractive” is universal, and well ingrained in American culture as well, even it’s not to the level it is in China. It’s an unfair nasty world out there.

April 2, 2009 @ 12:02 am | Comment

By giving people virtually nothing in the way of education about religion, or freedom to discuss it, it strips citizens of the tools needed to understand it.

I agree. All Chinese should be taught the theory of evolution early on and there should be classes that exist specifically to debunk stuff like young earth creationism and intelligent design.

They should let the Westboro Baptist Church tour the country every now and then, think of it as immunization.

And let’s be honest, the prejudice toward people perceived to be “attractive” is universal, and well ingrained in American culture as well, even it’s not to the level it is in China. It’s an unfair nasty world out there.

Jeez, once again with the “China is worse/the worst at such and such”. Why are you surprised that I keep comparing? Richard, I think you should have a long talk with racial minorities about how much their “looks” are appreciated in America. And ask the fat people too. Ask the gay men especially about their beauty standards. Have a chat with some anorexic models too.

Once again I think the problem is that China is really not politically correct. However when that meets globalization the result can be pretty ugly.

April 2, 2009 @ 12:52 am | Comment

Re FOARP’s comment, I remember being approached in the late 90s by a couple of local grad students in Xi’an for help with some dodgy translation work they had picked up on the side. Can’t say for sure that what they were working on was Scientology tracts, but it was definitely very spooky, whack-job stuff. I shudder to think of that crap taking root here.

Would be interesting to know how they translated “thetan” though.

April 2, 2009 @ 3:13 pm | Comment

Oops, just googled it and apparently it’s translated “赛顿”.

April 2, 2009 @ 3:18 pm | Comment

Ferin, I can back up what I say about the height/beauty thing in the US vs. China. As I say, it’s a bad problem in the US. But we do have anti-discrimination laws and we don’t send photos of ourselves on resumes and employers aren’t allowed to set height, weight or age limitations on jobs. You can take them to court if they try. In the US, to my knowledge, it is unheard of to have your legs broken and operated on to add a couple of inches of height, though there may be an odd anecdote of it happening. Here it is a relatively common practice.

Chinese here applying for a job literally cannot get in the door for an interview without that photo. This is simply not so in the US. We have our own deep prejudices, but when it comes to HBV carriers, short people and “unattractive” people China outdoes America in institutionalized intolerance. I have, by the way, seen equally discriminatory practices in Malaysia and, if I remember correctly, the Philippines.This is not exclusively limited to China.

April 2, 2009 @ 3:49 pm | Comment

It’s an unfair nasty world out there.

Sure, but I find it curious how people will deny they let their decisions be affected by such factors as we have discussed and then many do just that. They’re lying to themselves, though probably also instinctively trying to cover their backsides.

At least the Chinese seem to be relatively open in acknowledging they do (sometimes) let such things influence who they offer jobs to, who they promote, etc. I think the developed world is in denial.

April 2, 2009 @ 6:05 pm | Comment

Maybe so, but I do like that the US at least offers a recourse to those who are discriminated against, and often these cases are won. It is illegal to offer a job in the US with a line like, “Must be under 40,” and that is enforced. HR departments are terrified of discrimination suits, which is the purpose of these laws and they do have an effect. Not perfect, there’s still lots of prejudice, but I prefer it to blatant discrimination that you are powerless to challenge.

April 2, 2009 @ 6:44 pm | Comment

I ran across this doing research last week: Raelian科学网

April 2, 2009 @ 8:58 pm | Comment

True, there are better rules about employment in North America and Europe.

April 3, 2009 @ 12:27 am | Comment

Oh, though of course you still get firms frequently conveniently picking younger employees. I’m not sure it makes much of a difference if a company says that it will take almost anyone on age-wise and then doesn’t hire anyone under the age of x for the positions.

By the way, I’m not criticising the US, this is in my experience elsewhere.

April 3, 2009 @ 12:31 am | Comment

@Raj – I used to be amongst those who claimed that employment practices in the west were far superior to those in China/Taiwan, and of course they are – to a limited extent. The real eye-opener was what happened to my father, who worked in IT at Sainsbury’s HQ in Holborn St. in London. He was fired just a few months shy of his 60th birthday at the same time as a lot of other people of similar age were being let go – practically everyone who was fired was sacked just before their 60th birthday in a ‘reorganisation’ of the office. Essentially they needed to cut numbers ahead of the coming recession so they fired the easiest targets – the ones who would be retiring in 5/6 years anyway.

Of course, had they waited until they were 60 it would have been much more difficult legally for them to have done this. As a result of Sainsbury’s deliberate policy of out-sourcing IT to Accenture and then in-sourcing them, whilst the department in reality did the same work in the same building with the same people, he wasn’t even able to claim a proper pension which otherwise would have been his due to time served – on paper he worked for different companies during this period, when in fact he was working for Sainsbury’s the whole time.

Yeah, the law gives people more options, but there’s still plenty of ways round it. In fact you could say that these laws actually do more harm than good, as in my father’s case the reason why he was sacked was most probably because they wouldn’t have been able to fire him had they waited until he was over 60.

As for my father, he’s philosophical about the whole thing, but let’s put it like this – this time last year he was an IT professional on £60,000 a year, and now he cannot even get a £20,000/year job because he is now officially ‘too old’. Our society treats old people poorly, and is far too willing to declare people ‘finished’ before they actually are.

April 3, 2009 @ 2:28 am | Comment

@Zhwj – Damn, the crazy thing is the way they mix CCP-style ‘harmony’ rhetoric with plain-crazy UFO worship.

April 3, 2009 @ 3:59 am | Comment

Our society treats old people poorly, and is far too willing to declare people ‘finished’ before they actually are.

I agree with that completely. My father was younger than yours when he was made redundant (on a very good salary in business) and it took him years to find anything decent. That was during boom years!

April 3, 2009 @ 5:36 am | Comment

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