Social BS

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.

The eyesight of the rodent

The old Chinese idiom “鼠目寸光” (The eyesight of the rodent) likens those who fail to apprehend the overall picture or the inferred allusion over the immediate appearance of an object to the rat whose eyesight never goes beyond what is within one inch range of its eyes. It is a very strong word we use to disdain those who are blatantly superficial and only respond to immediate causes and direct effects. In another way of saying, we use it (at least I use it a lot) to express the despise against the intelligently incapable dumb breed.

Unfortunately, rats are the majority.

Emotionally I hate to admit and would seek every possible way to refute it. But rationally I know this is the truth: most people are stupid followers with the eyesight of a rodent.

Evidences are everywhere in the society. If to think beyond the immediate cause and direct effect of an object were the dogma of our everyday life in the society, then there’s no need for Machiavelli to expound the ancient wisdom of social maneuvering; it would be a waste of time for Hazlitt to explicitly debunk the fallacies of many popular economic mantra; our politicians would focus on governance instead of popularity; and of course we would no longer vote and cheer for those who have a better face and make better jokes on the television.

It is intriguing to see how mankind took the wrong path for self-destructive leftism after achieving so much in our history. I have always blamed two things for the plague of leftism: the god-like superior feeling of the liberal intellectuals and the hypnosis from the overwhelming entertaining business that suppress people’s rationality and logic over emotional and psychological resonance.

Putting aside the discussion about the god-like superior feeling of the liberal intellectuals, I have always assumed that the reason why leftist ideas got popular among the public is because people are clouded by the boondoggling show business for their own judgement. Now I would make the correction: most people are born that way and do not have the character to think independently and rationally. The rabble got empowered by the annoying leftists  (the bourgeoisie, the enlightened Jews, the radical protestants, whichever theory fits you the best) and favor the very idea that sparked their delirium. Traditions, religions, and etiquette, which are created to ensure the alphas to steer the societal dynamic, are ravaged and torn into a thousand pieces.

People are given the delusion from the leftists that they are just as smart as those who came up with this idea in the first place. Therefore everyone should be the same and it’s the sacred human right to spread equality, love, and democracy among everyone. Sadly, the ugliest truth that lies beyond this sheer claptrap, that most people can’t think for themselves and must be guided by the few who could, is buried forever deep underneath the ground.

As a result, the whole human civilization is advancing towards a direction based on a few lucky hunch. But of course there are always people who have both the ability to think beyond surface and the intellectual curiosity, who well acknowledges the absurdity of contemporary social realm. Some of them turn into agonized and morose reactionaries; some become opportunists that take advantages of this imbalance to maximize their own desire.

The question is, since there is no way to enlighten most people intellectually, how are we going to devise an idea that could appeal to the rabble that everything leftists promised is simply unrealistic? A new cult? A new movie? A good-looking sophist on the Television?

Uighur pickpocket gang

This is, another untold story, of the modern China (I have previously addressed the other untold story: the Wenzhou people).

Any normal Chinese who lives in any of the major cities in China would tell you that such thing is an open secret, an inconvenient truth for the Chinese.

The Uighur are heartless enough to abduct their own kids of 5~10 years old, unanimously ethnically Uighur from the Southern Tarim Basin, smuggle them to the rest of China in the number of hundred and thousand, and force them to become the little pickpockets on the street. I remember 10 years ago while I was still in China the Uighur pickpocket gangs were already widely spread and deeply rooted all over big cities in China, stretching from the hard-core cold-winter Harbin to the subtropical-never-snow Guangzhou. The little kids are usually mistreated, physically abused by the adults so that they could timidly obey to the adults, who usually stay in the shadow to remote control their theft on the street. It’s  an open secret because nobody would want to be bothered with such sensitive issues. People usually chose to ignore them as they are clearly minority on the street, not to mention the pickpockets are usually little kids. Police would never want to make a big deal out of it either. The news media has never (in my memory, never) mentioned the existence of such problems in my city, Changsha, at that time, even though they were everywhere and everyone knew about them. To them, minority crime is always a hot issue that no one would like to touch. At the same time, it has been an incontrovertibly inconvenient truth in China for years. As far as I know, the polices did try to get the kids on the street. But since they were minorities and underage children, they would be soon freed. And the adults are usually off the hook because it’s difficult to get them with solid evidence. Every time the police put the kids on the train to Xinjiang those adults would simply bring them back to other provinces again. It goes on and on, never ending…

I have written an article about my personal experience with the Uighur pickpocket gang many years ago. As much as I am not a big fan of the rabbit-style fertility and religious fanaticism of the Muslim Uighur, I very much sympathize with the misfortune of those children. Today I heard a piece of very inspiring news: 1,332 Xinjiang children rescued from criminals. It seems that Chinese government is gaining confident in bringing the issue out of water to all and publicly admitting its existence and addressing it determinedly subsequently. I remember there was rumor back then that the highly organized Uighur pickpocket gang was somehow related to the Uighur separatists. The profit from such petty crimes must be very lucrative. Oh well, there is every reason to stop them from doing so. Enough said. Just one last suggestion. Instead of giving those kids back to the ignorant Uighur parents who have excessive kids to be abducted and little money to feed them, it’s better to put them for adoption. That’d be a good start to sinicize the Turks.

Entertainment to mediocrity

Finally I could have a break from the hectic schedule at the beginning of 2012.

This afternoon I was on the train back home from work. I usually read with my Kindle the whole time on the train. But today I was a bit exhausted of focusing on every word in the line of Schopenhauer all the time since sometimes it could be quite distracting on the train with the noise from other people and the train itself. So I stopped reading and started to lose myself in the universe of musing. As I unconsciously gazed around, I quickly discovered something way more interesting and started to observe people’s behavior in the train. It was a one-hour-trip, and guess what most of people were doing nowadays in the train?

8 out of 10 people (of all ages) were busy bowing down to the extreme and staring at their tiny little phones as if that 3~4 inch screen of magic gadget has inexplicable magnetic field to drag their eyes closer, closer, and closer…

In fact, I recall when I was having lunch today with my colleagues they were exactly doing the same thing, leaving me alone eating my sandwich “ordinarily and in a fully committed manner”.

Whatever they stared at, it is absolutely irrelevant, forgettable, and worthless.

I am not here lamenting about the increasing distance among people nowadays and ranting on the abuse of virtual device for it. That’s just cliche. What I really thought sad was the fact that people nowadays were wholeheartedly swamped by the wasteful and absolutely unnecessary entertaining information all their spare time (esp the younger generation).

It’s simply amazing to see how fast the entertaining business self-magnifies in our civilization in the past few decades:

20 years ago the presence of TV, which was already considered the then greatest threat to the intellectual enlightenment of the society, only “compelled” people with enormous retarded pictorial information when they were at home. I suppose most people could still have their own time while away from home. 10 years ago there was the massive proliferation of internet, which overtook TV as the major source of entertainment in a blitz manner. The amount of wasteful and irrelevant tabloid gossips simply jumped more than tenfold of that from the TV. I guess humans must have sickly obsession for the garbage information intake. Since the era of internet more and more people have spent more and more time in front of their computers, even at work (everyday works with computers nowadays and everyone checks random stuff that you would forget one second after at work on the internet for nothing other than meaningless entertainment/time-killing?).

Nowadays, as the zeitgeist represents: the plague of smart phones all over the world (even in places like Africa). The ultimate objective of the entertaining business has finally achieved (next step is… the dream?). People are finally overwhelmed with unnecessary overloading information with their entertaining gadgets ALL THE TIME.  (The screen, however, does get smaller and smaller…)

Of course I believe everyone’s excuse for having a smart phone (excluding those hipsters!) is to use it as a productivity boost for our everyday life. I, myself, have a smart phone as well for this purpose. But how many really makes their life more productive with such device? And how many hours have you killed straight with your smart phone at the same time?

I really have to give credits to the development of the entertaining business. It abuses our vulnerable psychological flaws to the fullest. The entertaining technology, as I categorize it (TV, video game, internet, smartphone etc.), most of the time just serve the purpose to trap us with higher and higher level of addiction to the business itself without realizing it. This entangles us mortals forever in the wonderland of mediocrity. With dull, repetitious, and mechanic office work that most people spend most of their day time, we are already being retarded in our intelligent potentials. And this is not enough. With the ultimate entertaining technologies we are even stripped off the very last remaining moment of being ourselves. When could we ever have the time to rejoice the enrichment of solitude, reading, or even contemplation? Alas, but what we have been stripped off from this hypnosis are exactly what has prompted the advancement of our civilization all along.

People already lost the prudence for rational reasoning, logic. It is already getting increasingly difficult to educate the public of something that is a little bit beyond the immediate appearance of the objects. Social Media, Art, Music, Literature, Religion, and especially Politics, are appealing for those who knows the tricks of charlatans: psychology and signaling. Quoted from Schopenhauer, who still claimed at that time humans would respond to motives rather than causes (inorganic) and stimuli (plant and animal), the difference being humans use reasoning to use “will” to respond beyond the immediate intuitive response to the physical cognition (emotions being a high level of stimuli in such taxonomy). I dare to paraphrase this assertion to be more applicable for the brave new world: people are repressed with their reasoning capabilities submerging in the ocean of information solely for the purpose of entertainment. Hence human “will” merely degrades itself into a superficial reflection of immediate intuitive (like the interface nowadays: intuitive) and emotional response of the surface of the consequence, for we barely have the precious time and virtue for intellectual cognition now.

In this endless ouroboros, we do not grow wiser nor our civilization advances much further other than in the entertaining business. Immediately it reminds me of Neil Postman and his famous claim: “Amusing Ourselves to Death“…

Most people just never get it.

Home to many Congolese expatriates

Brussels police arrest 200 over Congo vote violence.

That title itself is extremely amusing. One of the zillion signs of the africanization of Europe. Read the news, it only gets more horrendously hilarious:

“Protesters in the former colonial power, home to many Congolese expatriates, threw Molotov cocktails at police cars, a police spokesman said. Shop windows and bus shelters were also smashed near the Congolese quarter.”

“Friday night’s riots in Brussels follow several days of tensions between police and anti-Kabila protesters, the Belga newswire says”

Absolutely the true spirit of “expatriates”. They all came to Belgium either work for multinational companies with fat paycheck or study in the universities as they are super smart. They got bored of their “expatriate” life and decided to give a piece of of their mind on the rigged election in their homeland Congo. I said attaboy! Who’s the colonial bitch now?

Insurmountable tax money for the welfare state

Recently I got the chance to be enlightened by a few friends on how generous the mighty Dutch welfare system is to the people and how “fortunate” people are benefiting on such generous welfare structure. Without further blathering, here is the real deal:

Deal 1: Apparently if you reside in the Netherlands (a resident, not necessarily a citizen) and work for an under-paid job (by Dutch standard, 1000euro/month is considered under-paid), and you also happen to live in an “over-paid” apartment/house (let’s say the monthly rent is 400euro/month), you are then eligible to apply for the national rental subsidy, which the government would spare you hundred something cash every month into your little pocket. By the way, just saying, the Dutch government already has this super cheap welfare housing in every municipality for the “less fortunate”.

Deal 2: If you are registered as a student in the Netherlands (for Dutch citizen only), you would receive a monthly pocket money from the government for at least 4 years plus free traveling of the Dutch public transportation system (the expensive bus and train are all free!). But the rate of pocket money is different, judging from if you still live with your parents or not. Obviously if you are registered to live away from your parents you’d receive 250euro/month, if not you would only get 90euro/month. As far as I know, most Dutch students still stick to their parents through most of their twenties, while “living” in a different place close to their school.

Deal 3: If you reach 18 and become a university student (not only Dutch but for all EU citizen) in Holland, you could immediately request a student loan from the government (if you think your 300euro/month subsidy couldn’t sustain a student life with 1000euro/year tuition). Let’s say a pothead who just reached 18 claim 600 euro/month from the loan. Even if his parents came to the tax office and told them his son is a no good pothead and can never repay his student loan, the loan is most likely to be granted, for the age 18 is the legal age for individual to bear their responsibilities fully. The fun part here is that if that pothead miraculously does finish his degree, but he can’t find a decent job within the four years after graduate, the government would send a guy to check the situation and would deem the dude incapable of bearing the financial burden and therefore cancel all the student loan debt he took during his university period. Isn’t that sweet? By the way, I have written an article previously talking about such case in detail.

It’s hilarious that how the Dutch welfare system treats people like they are very honest, pure, and vulnerable to money issues. But unfortunately I have known too many evil doers who are simply just sitting on this system and get money for nothing. There was a story of a dude from South America who basically came to Holland to live and study, without paying even a dime, and making a considerable monthly income upon his idleness! The only trick is, he got hooked with a true love of Dutch origin. That reminds me that sometime ago I met this Dutch cop. The guy actually only does one thing: to find out who is taking money out of the government for such gimmicks. A little more information, most of his targets are those Moroccan immigrants.

Here is the thing, with such a generous welfare system, it’s a sin not to take advantage of it for the mortals. For all I know, old Dutch geezers are probably the only people who are stupid enough to stay clean of those welfare money. The young pothead kids do it, other EU people do it, immigrants do it. Well, I don’t think the amount of babies they produce every year could sustain such a giant money hole. Just wait till the money runs out.