Friday, 22 January 2010

Chinese Internet Rant and Index Explanation


Ever since returning to Poland at the beginning of the month, my days have been occupied with learning and short journeys on the tram, while my nights are spent cutting, splicing and tinkering with the remaining films for The Learning English Video Project. I am most excited about the way they are turning out; particularly 'Insights from China', which still has no official release date. This particular film is like no other from the series and, although I should be disinclined to choose a particular favorite, 'Insights..' has something very special about it. Due to the current commentaries on China's Internet situation (nobody in mainland China will be able to read this blog for instance) I am curious to see what the reaction will be concerning the film... This very issue in itself troubles me somewhat. Of course the Internet is censored, as different countries permit different things to be made available. No other country has grabbed national headlines as much as China has with regard to Internet strictness and that may be the source of my frustration. The Chinese government claimed that the Americans were imposing 'information imperialism', while Americans condemned the Chinese decision to censor Google searches on subjects such as Tiananmen Square and Tibet... It is well known that there is information (digital or otherwise) that is not made available to the American, British etc. public and so it is seemingly impossible that the aforementioned Western governments should criticise the Chinese in the fashion in which they have chosen. I am not shocked by this criticism, just disappointed... 

I have been collecting grades for the first semester of my MA this week. The Polish system is an interesting one; an 'Index' (a pocket sized green book with personal information, a passport photo and space for grades) is supplied, wherein one writes one's subject information. The teachers for each subject then fill in the Index and hand it back to you complete with their signature. So far my marks are showing the results of a fruitful semester that I have thoroughly enjoyed, although I may have been a little naive in thinking it possible to study during the day and edit at night with their being possible side affects...  I may now consider myself a polyphasic sleeper - something new for 2010.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

2010

Wroclaw, Poland.

I spent my Christmas and New Years Eve in Shanghai. I have several projects in China at the moment and I needed to return to Asia for the third time in 2009, primarily to develop research in a paper I am writing on the subject of Confucius. As well as working on The Learning English Video Project and planning a future film to be shot in Cambridge, I have been living a double-life as a student by day; attending lectures and seminars on all things embracing Political Science. My M.A. is in International Relations, a subject I find both fascinating and inspiring. Since October last year, I have been taking classes in Economics, Human Rights Protection, International Relations Theories, Environmental Protection as well as region specific modules and additional courses in Polish and Mandarin Chinese. The first semester is coming to a close and so my time is occupied with exam preparation and essay writing. Even though this utterly rules out the option of a bustling social life, I simply can not put enough emphasis on the joys and benefits education can bring. I am starting 2010 as I wish to end it; in the grips of an exasperating educational exchange. 

The Learning English Video Project is far from complete. The EnglishClub team have been adding resources to the films that are already available to watch and I am working hard on edits for the next two releases. 'Insights from China' should be online in the coming weeks but there is still no word on an official release date.

I am not one for new years resolutions as such, but I do feel as though I did not read enough in 2009. I am going to make full use of my library card in 2010 and make sure that I leave some time aside for reading things outside of the 'scientific literature' bracket. 

With that said and done however, I need to get through a few more chapters of perhaps one of the most peculiar books I have ever encountered; the first volume of a series on ancient Chinese philosophy. The book was written in English by a pair of Chinese scholars and the style of writing baffles me...

Happy New Year!

Daniel.