Month: April 2012

Chinese nepotism: grab the money and GO!

Sailer was mentioning in an early article how Indian elite class are using their own power and status to help their children. I wasn’t surprised at all. Nepotism comes with the notion of kinship, the basic sense of collectivism that has been shared since the dawn of civilization by nearly all groups of people. Protestantism was the only one weird enough to break this lock, which lays the foundation for the arrival of modern economics, where the notion of kinship has been completely tossed away and ridiculed. But in reality, nepotism survives and remains strong among most of the population in the world. The nepotism in China is probably even worse than in India.

It’s just another basic social instinct of people, like ethnocentrism. You can’t blame the parents who are using their own power and status to foster the growth of their blood. After all, this is the ultimate biological mission of living beings (to most of people). Were I or you in the similar situation, things would not have been much different. But most likely we are not in those positions. And most of us would just lament how unfair it is and how unjust those spoiled ones get it all. Look at Bo Guagua, that spoiled son of the dark lord Bo Xilai and his cold-blooded murderer wife, he belongs to the lucky ones who have it all. Attending the most prestigious boarding school in London, then Oxford, then couldn’t keep up with the study and have to “be arranged” to transfer to Harvard, it would be silly to listen to his dad’s claim that his baby boy got it all figured out by himself with some mysterious scholarship. Most of Bo’s corruption money would probably go through this little dude, even after Bo got flagged and jailed. He has a good life and will probably keep having a good life somewhere in the west, long after people forget about his pretentious dad in China.

Bo Guagua: "What was I studying again? Does it matter?"

But he is definitely no exception. I ran through a quick check on the family background of the nine comrades that are allegedly the current top decision-makers in China. The findings are so disheartening at first that I feel immediately so ashamed of the idea that I want to keep my Chinese passport. All of those daughters, sons, brothers, and sisters are either studying in the ivy league or working as the big bosses in many state-own enterprises while residing in Hong Kong, Australia, US, etc. Literally no exception (at least not much infiltrated in politics, thank the celestial!). Mao’s fatso grandson was only made a window-dressing general probably out of pity, but those dudes are without doubt using everything they could to help their kids get more money and power, mostly money. The pattern goes probably like this, just like any other Chinese family who have kids, they would send their kids to the west for the best education, with tens of tons of cash to support their hedonistic lifestyle, cars, women(men), and mansions. But the little difference to the major Chinese populace is that they don’t really care if their kids do well in school or not. Mostly they don’t anyway. The point is they would graduate, live there long enough to get a permanent residence if not the citizenship, and then go back to be parachuted on the top position of those gigantic Chinese state-own enterprises or set up a company that expands miraculously fast and successful. In either way, life is set and tuned to be good for those lucky ones.

To give you a concrete idea of what I am talking about. Let’s have a glimpse of the vivid life of Zhu Yunlai, the precious son of the then-premier of China, Zhu Rongji, supposedly the most uncorrupted and beloved Chinese political figure. Yunlai was born in 1957 and had been graduated from the then Meteorology College of Nanjing University with a B.Sc in atmospheric physics in 1981, at the age of 24. He worked as a scientist in the China Meteorological Administration probably until late 80s when he went to University of Wisconsin for a PhD in atmospheric physics. He probably really got the potential of being a good scientist as he did manage to obtain the solid PhD in 1994. Honestly if his story ended up like this I would have much more respect for his dad as an extremely benevolent and honest example of Chinese high profile. He might continue pursuing his academic career and probably would even make a lovable story in the field of atmospheric physics. But that was just my wishful thinking. At the age of 37, as a dude who had dedicated all his adulthood in the field of atmospheric physics, he all of sudden decided it was a damn waste of time and “talent” for him, or he was “decided”. One could only speculate. But what actually happened was as soon as he graduated he got enrolled into a “one-year” Master program in one of the best private Catholic university “DePaul University” in something that is completely different to what he knew before: “accounting“. Not to mention the astronomical figures of the tuition, how the hell did he get qualified to get enrolled in “accounting”, at the age of 37? This first seemed odd. But if you cross-checked his father’s track at that time and his later life encountering, you would find it was a damn belatedly right move that should have been there 15 years ago. Zhu Rongji was ascending like a rocket in early 90s along with the Shanghai clique. In 1993, he was already the damn money lord of all China, the super big boss of the People’s Bank of China. Thanks to Deng, 90’s China has much more intense economic connections to the west than the 80’s. That was probably when the high profiles got frisky in planning the lucrative futures for their kids. Zhu Yunlai must have been under tremendous pressure to give up his beloved science for something that could bring him a way better life (in terms of money of course). I guess the dude finally gave in to his dad just like his dad’s political rivals. Then after 1994 he went through a delicately planned Cinderella storyline: after graduating with a 1-year M.A in accounting he was immediately hired as an accountant by Arthur Andersen, one of those “Big Five” accounting firms in the world. Then after working for only one year he was deemed valuable enough for Credit Suisse to lure him away from Chicago as an “investment consultant”. His life in western multinational corporate might have been better if Beijing didn’t put up a ban on the family members of high profiles to work under foreign companies (guess those damn western capitalists were grabbing too much in China and touched someone’s nerve) in 1998.

Zhu Yunlai: "At least I got a real PhD in atmospheric physics!"

So at the age of 41, with 3 years of experience in the financial sector, a degree of 1-year M.A in accounting, one B.Sc and PhD in atmospheric physics and at least 8 years of experience in the field of atmospheric physics, he went back to Hong Kong and joined the China International Capital Corporation, a state-own financial monster that helps Chinese state-own enterprises’ overseas financing. In just 2 years he ascended to the top circle of the company and in 2004 he was made the CEO. The company enjoys a de-facto monopoly in helping mega state-own enterprises’ overseas initial public offering, and he was named the 15th most influential business leader in Asia by Forbes. He now presumably resides in Hong Kong and possess a green card, with shit loads of money that you and I will never know. So much for a potential atmospheric physicist.

I mean if even the most acclaimed Chinese political figure’s son is like this, there certainly would be no exceptions that their children would be so indulged with money, power and foreign residence, and turn unanimously into a series of spoiled parasites without their own character. Maybe some of those kids could turn out to be kind of a man their father was. But I doubt it’s ever gonna happen with their golden spoon (in contrast, Xi Jingpi was hit to the rock bottom because of his dad and made his way mostly by himself). Things could only get worse. At least Zhu Yunlai got some solid science. Look at Bo Guagua and his generation, all they got is party, women, and booze (as those new nobility gets to fly alone earlier and earlier in their age). Nepotism is not what I am worried about. I am mostly haunted by the reminiscence of the old Chinese tales of A Dou, and Er Shi Zu. That reminds me of a Chinese phrase: 溺愛 (drowning indulgence). I get the idea that their parents just wanna ensure them of endless money, but please not at the expense of the vital leadership of those important sectors of China.

realism vs. populism

Realism stems from the interaction between empirical cognition and rational interpretation. Observational patterns reinforce or adjust this ideology which results from the rational cognition of objective beings itself, supplemented with logic backed by axioms with the principle of Occam’s razor. Realism tends to downplay the emotional response to the disparity between the objective realm and his own somatic expectation. Because of its disheartening nature (as the disparity often triggers a drastic impulse for human emotion, positive or negative), there is a natural emotional tendency to reject realism among all people to various degrees regardless of the biological diversity within the population. Since cognitive bias is a natural biological trait of all human beings, and the development and acceptance of logic speculation needs a relatively high level of intelligence, realism could only be absorbed by a small fraction of smart people who happen to tune their cognitive bias in favor of emotionally detached empirical observations and philosophical interpretation. I could only speculate that only those with potentials could undergo the transcendence to become a true realist under the enlightenment of intellectual influence and empirical observation.

Though proud of my Chinese heritage, I have to say realism has only been taken serious in the West. Classical Chinese intellectuals had the astute observation of empirical patterns but did not develop mature metaphysics, or speculative philosophy like that of Ancient Greece. Realism in Europe, which survived from the infiltration of Christianity and thrived after the renaissance, ought be regarded as the most eminent determinant beyond the absolute dynamism that leads to the rise of enlightenment, the development of scientific method, and ultimately the modern science and technology advancement.

On the other side, populism is based on fantasy, fairy tales, dreams with mostly good intentions which are usually supported and supplemented by excessive guilt and desire. Populism craves for a deliberate advocate of resonance, unity, and solidarity in spite of realistic intellectual, physical, and gender and even cultural differences for the sake of self-salvation. Its origin dates back to the dawn of human civilization, and it has dominated the human civilization ever since. As far as I concern, only the ancient Chinese and ancient Greeks were able to come up with an alternative (the former comes to an only halfway package). Still, even up to this day, the composition of human ethics remain a big puzzle among all realist speculators. Kant was trying hard. A friend of mine said Schopenhauer reached the furthest. I concurred and didn’t want to discuss further. As far as I understand the core of populism, either ethnocentrism or benevolent ethics, should not be regarded more than an interaction between the somatic stimuli to empirical observations and philosophical speculations that follow. Unlike realism, populism usually serves for deliberate and clear objectives. Some are more somatic and less speculative than others. Religion is a good example of populism with much more efforts in philosophical speculation, whereas nationalism or racism may spend less time in contemplation. This is the same case with modern liberalism, a more or less interchangeable term for leftism. This dominant ideology of the contemporary era is no different than any other forms of populism (religion, fascism, communism etc.). Its ostensible wishful thinking axioms, good-and-evil indoctrination, and an absolute intolerance of other ideologies, are the common traits for all populist thoughts. Probably because of its sharply tangible and overwhelmingly clear ideologies, their impacts on people’s behavior are way more profound than that of realism. One should never overlook the power of populism. It may not propel the advancement of factual well-being of mankind, but it definitely has the ability to turn white to black, water to wine, man to woman, or vice versa. The ultimate “Right or Wrong” question thus becomes the sole decree on which the final judgement is based.

Take an example on the different response to a pure empirical observation:

“Blacks are in low socio-economical status than whites”.

A liberal would reply immediately with anger: “That’s not right, it’s purely racism and discrimination.”

A white supremacist would reply immediately with contempt : “What do you think about those inferior dumb breed?”

A realist would not hastily come to a judgement but rather raise questions to be dug into later: “why is it happening and what are the reasons? And how should we react?”

Let alone the realist response, this example shows how hollow it is to define a “Right or Wrong”. The second response would be deemed as a hate speech for immediate political persecution in 2012’s Birmingham and the first response would be regarded as an absolute delirium to be reviled against in 1712’s London. The dominant populist ideology changes, sometimes changes to a completely opposite sense. All populist ideology only serve to a certain condition with an expiration date. But the trick is there’s always another one to fulfill  the role left by the previous one. In the first half of 20th century Germans were the most avid nationalistic followers in the world; half a century later it became the one of the most leftist countries in Europe, if not the most.

Unlike populism, the ultimate goal doesn’t lay underneath a moralistic judgement or salvation on the issue of “Right or Wrong”. Instead, the eternal pursuit of a sounder interpretation of the empirical beings in philosophy or the incentive to contribute to a more practical and utilitarian application to our factual well beings in science serves as the core drives. Such ouroboros ideology could never satiate the pursuers, thus enabling a perpetual motion in the name of truth and applicability that propelled us into the modern civilization.

Unfortunately realism could never be popular, but populism could never solve any practical issues. As a realist, I wholeheartedly long for a second booming of realism for another technological and scientific leap. But also as a realist, I do not really see this happening any soon.

A rendezvous with panache

The Slitty Eye is back. At least I would begin to log in my account and start to write something. This time, about Chinese Politics.

Chinese Politics has never been a glowing treasure chest that fascinates the west, for the people outside of that mysterious place know so little about what really is going on there. No one could figure out what is really going on beyond those emotionless high profile figures that occasionally visit some random countries or make some monotonic speeches. There are only loads of gossips, rumors, speculations, conspiracy theories that revolve around Zhongnanhai, . The Shanghai clique, the League clique, the Princelings… Those terms are possibly the way most exciting terms that are created for Chinese politics. Who cares about the forgetful names and faces in the central politburo anyway?

Long eroded by the show business mentality and leftist dogmas, the western media has never been an avid follower of Chinese politics except for its evil suppression on people’s freedom and equality, and of course, the catnip for western liberals: Tibet. Few really gives a damn on what it is going on with the real decision-makers and how they are trying so hard to put pieces together in this awfully big and messy country. The current government is probably the smartest of all time in managing China as far as I concern.

I often secretly relish the fact that we don’t have the western-style specious jokers in the politics, for I always think politics would be the most serious things on earth as it deals with literally everything. Clowns on the television blurring populist slogans and slurring on each other are not even those leftist ideological founders wished for in the first place.

Anyway, back to Chinese politics. A few days ago, a name that non-Chinese could barely pronounce, “Bo Xilai“, became a viral sensation that simply sweeps over major western media all of sudden. Described as “a charming, charismatic, and outspoken western-alike political figure” and labelled as a Chinese political supernova with his whooping socialist class-conflict campaign in the city of Chongqing, he was “unexpectedly” slashed and expelled from the politburo, stripped out of his official title, and put into a house arrest under a series of political and criminal investigation. Now that is a piece of classic politic news that the western media likes. The best part isn’t over yet. The linkage between Bo’s lawyer wife Gui Kailai and the mythic death of a Brit associated with M16 escalated public interest in Bo’s political death into an even higher level. Most of the articles I read in English about Bo share a sense of sympathy, with more focusing on his flamboyant personality and little on what his lousy politics. The subliminal message is loud and clear: Bo sounds just like our political entertainers, he was a great public entertainer, an outspoken dude with humanity, and most of all, he was trying to fight for the root class of Chongqing! It was a tragedy that he was doomed in the evil and authoritarian Chinese politics. For all they care, Bo could be the crack they always dream for, the Chinese “JFK”. And his wife is called as the Jackie Kennedy of China (though she was virtually unheard of among western media until the shit hits the fan, honestly I think she is more like a cold-blooded money sucking bitch). Bo could be China’s Yeltsin to take down the last major counter force of western liberalism.

I am Da Man!

Of course nobody gives a rat about his hedonistic son‘s hardcore clubbing in London and Beijing with Ferrari and women. Likewise, no one would make the effort to take a second look at how superficial and stupid his political campaigns are made. The dude was probably trying to create a noisy fuzz in Chongqing just to get himself back to Beijing (I bet he watched too much western TV soaps on politics). Thanks to his wife who probably murdered that English dude, he was finally ousted from Chinese politics. No more puppet charlatan in the politburo. This dude should have been born in Czech Republic, or Romania. He might make a big time there with his demagogic gimmicks.

No, I am really the man.

Once again I am glad that China holds probably one of the last bastions of the good old fashion politics. Politics should be about how the jobs are done, not some claptrap clamorous rendezvous with panache. You know who is cool? Hu Jintaois cool, for he has a sense of coolness in playing the political game instead of a drama show. Meritocracy in my view is far more superior than the idea of democracy. I am happy that no one calls his wife the Jackie Kennedy of China, no cone calls him charming and charismatic. The statesmen gotta be cool and smart, not emotional and entertaining. My last consolation about China.