October 26, 2012

Cheap Treasures

I stopped by a second hand furniture store and bought this bamboo box for $1. Just cannot believe it!

$2 vase!

October 24, 2012


Japanese Reading.
Japanese Reading. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If we understand reading (books or any other reading materials) as reading other people's minds, writing is nothing more than reading our own minds.

Interesting thing is, as I am getting older, I found "reading" my own mind is more fun than reading others. That probably explains why I enjoy writing more than reading.
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The Art of Criticism

English: John Ruskin. Art criticism. from Cart...
English: John Ruskin. Art criticism. from Cartoon portraits and biographical sketches of men of the day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I recently wrote a blog Art of Criticism in Chinese about my thoughts on criticism. The article is based on my unpleasant experience of participating Chinese forum discussion (see my previous post). I would not translate it into English (at least right now) because of my energy "shortage", but I would like to summarize it into a brief post here.

My point is, beside some purposely personal attacks by "mean-spirit" persons , I found the frequent unpleasant "fights" all over Chinese internet was due to the confusion of "suggestion" and "personal judgement". It seems to me, that because most Chinese people grew up by "personal judgement" - from parents to school education, many Chinese people simply do not have a clear understanding on what is "personal judgement", so they (we) easily throw it onto others, despite of their innocent motive (as matter of fact, "personal judgement" as a term is yet to be invented in Chinese). And because they grew up under severe criticism, they easily developed a perfectionist personality, which leads them to be over criticizing to themselves and others. Among Chinese intellectuals, it seems to be a "common sense" that no one can really speak out about anything unless he/she is an expert in the field to which his/her topic related. Thus if they heard anything unorthodox, they tend to use harsh words to scorn, even silent the speakers.

This, I believe, is one of major reasons why there is no freedom of speech in China, both politically or intellectually. Of course, the social system is "villain", but the system is just the "exterior" cause, the "interior" one is the rigid mindset of all population.

Back to my view on "criticism", I believe that first of all, any "criticism" or "suggestion" should be based on equal respect, represented in a "personal" fashion, such as "it's just my opinion", etc. And the art of criticism, I believe is not about "criticizing" at all, but about freedom of speech. In other words, when we bring up suggestions, the true motive is to presenting our own ideas about the subjects, to share our ideas with others, not about letting others accept our ideas. (I myself also need some improvement on this manner. I am still a Chinese by blood:-))

I also touched a little on debating. Speak to myself, I enjoy it only because I enjoy logic thinking, so the process of debating, usually is a process that I try to convince myself, not my opponents.

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October 23, 2012

Huge Disappointment

Recently I involved quite "heavily" in some discussions in a Chinese forum. The reason I participated was because those discussion were started over my articles published in that online Chinese magazine (Chinese News Digest). My experience there was almost completely negative: about 80 percent feedback I got were frequent personal attacks and (unaware or purposeful) serious personality judgement, despite the fact that I was one who wrote article in that place for about 8 years, and joined discussion often since my first article published there since 2004.
Beside the frequently occurred personal attack and personal judgement, those who took discussion seriously often were those who could not focus on topic, so the "marathon" exchange ideas went to nowhere. I decided that from now on, I should just focus on my writing on my own, take no or less participation in the Chinese forum. It just doesn't do much good for me, except frustration and disappointment.

October 2, 2012

Self-esteem & Self Acceptance

Self confidence, or self-esteem, is all about self acceptance, not self righteous.