Monday, October 17, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

China's government is very excited by these global protests against Western capitalism, though nervous that they could spread to 'socialism with Chinese characteristics', i.e. state capitalism, in an even more unequal society than American has become. So, I was invited to participate in a discussion on China Radio International about the global protests. Of course, I had already left the country when the movement began in NYC, and so I can only observe from a far, though I don't see much different than the anti-globalization protests of the 1990s. Anyway, for those interested, here is the link to the discussion with the hosts, myself, a professor of Sociology at Fordham, and a participant in the Occupy university group. Tomorrow I am participating in a talk on the East-West Center based in Honolulu that I used to be affiliated with while a PhD student at the University of Hawai'i. And the university hosts its sports event day tomorrow (and thus cancelled my class and scheduled midterm), so I am hoping to take some good photos of a tug-of-war ('jia you!', that is the Chinese rallying cry, 'add fuel,' give it all you got), which we American teachers participated in when I taught English in Yunnan province. We beat one group of students, before losing to a second group of students, and if I recall correctly, the Chinese teachers beat us too. I mostly recall my hands were raw if not bloody after 1-2 hours of pulling a ragged rope, and that the Chinese teams were much more unified (with their chants of 'yi, er, SAN!', 1, 2, 3, and on 3 they pulled in unison), we Americans (including several West Point cadets) just tried to use our own individual strength and will, but miserably failed. (though we did win the basketball match (narrowly) against the PE teachers in a very physical and heated match, that led to some female teachers saying that we should not have competed so hard and risk an insult by winning, but I assume we all appreciated the spirit of the competition. So, I can go cheer on my students in their day-long mandatory day of sports.

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