Monday, October 11, 2010

(Four Days Late) Congrats, Mr. Liu Xiaobo!

I've been listening to a lot of Chinese language commentary on Fairchild radio, as well as reading news articles about Mr. Liu's accomplishment.  Some of the most touching snippets that I've heard include an interview with Mr. Liu's brother.  He said that Mr. Liu has spent a large part of his life promoting human rights and democratic reform in China, and winning the Nobel Peace Prize is completely deserving. 

I've also heard some radio listeners giving their two cents worth on an evening talk show, who said that they believe that awarding Mr. Liu this prize is a politically-driven decision, primarily to disgrace the Chinese government.  One listener even harkened this award to Gao Xingjian's Nobel Prize for Literature for his novel, "Spirit Mountain."  This listener said that the Nobel Committee would award the prizes to anyone who openly criticizes the Chinese government, and not because those individuals have done any commendable work.  According to this listener, "Spirit Mountain" was a very ordinary novel without much literary value. 

I personally have not read the novel, so I can't weigh in on its literary merits.  I do want to read it though, and in Chinese.  I read a little bit of it at my bro's condo yesterday when I was there for Thanksgiving dinner.  It wasn't hard to read at all.  It was actually easier than some of Jin Yong's wuxia novels because Gao didn't write using Classical Chinese prose.   Now I have 3.5 books to read, hopefully by Christmas.

Back to the topic of the Nobel Peace prize, I do have to say that there was one commentator (there are probably several who have made this observation) that Mr. Liu's achievement is so much more remarkable because he is the first Chinese national to have won a Nobel prize while still residing in China.  He hasn't exiled himself; he doesn't enjoy any freedom in foreign countries.  He's currently in prison still for writing up the Charter 08 that called for political reform in China.  He does all this work knowing full well the consequences: facing persecution.  I do admire him for this.

Several weeks ago, my pastor gave  a sermon where he talked about the work of missionaries in areas of the world where evangelical work will land people in prison, or worse, punishment by execution.  As a result, these missionaries have to do their work so carefully so as not to set off the authorities.  Often times, it's a matter of walking a very fine line. 

And then you have people like Aung San Suu Kyi, a human rights activist from Burma, who openly criticizes the Burmese government.  She has been living under house arrest for the past 7 years.  Prior to this, she had already served another sentence of 6 years between 1989-1995. 

Whether one agrees with their ideology, or disapproves of their cause, how can anyone deny their courage and resolve? 

"Aung San Suu Kyi - Biography". 11 Oct 2010

"Democracy Fighter Aung San Suu Kyi's Struggle".  11 Oct 2010

"Liu Xiaobo could win the Nobel Peace Prize, and he'd be the last to know".  11 Oct 2010

"Wife of Chinese Nobel Laureate under house arrest after weekend visit".  11 Oct 2010.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

So you think teachers have it easy?

Try sitting in an office that has the temperature of 10 degrees Celcius.  Try typing a document when your fingers are stiff.  See how many times you have to backspace and retype something because of all the mistakes you made.  Try aiming your mouse at a specific target while your hand is shaking and your whole body is shuddering from the cold. 

In cold weather we don't have heating.  In hot weather we don't have A/C.

And you think teachers have it easy?!