Thursday, October 09, 2003

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How was your day? I actually switched up my schedule and came home after Chinese class to write my CCS paper. It's something I don't normally do, be at home during the middle of the day. And it was actually nice. My room has a big window that lets in plenty of light, so the atmosphere was sunny. I made myself lunch -- two burritos, sliced apple, and a glass of peach Kool-aid -- and I tapped out the paper on my computer, a machine on which I generally don't tend to get much work done. An added bonus was that the weather has returned to a more temperate state, which meant I could open up the window and door for a pleasant cross-breeze. It was heavenly.

Recently I've rediscovered one life's small pleasures: a well-made bed. I've taken to making my bed each morning after I take a shower, and it delights me immensely to return from school and find such a carefully made quilt-topped bed that I can toss my stuff onto. And getting into bed at night just feels right when I pull back the covers. It feels like somebody is taking good care of me.

During and after CCS 501 today Helena was trying to convince us that the government should apply an equal standard for length of schooling to the entire state of China, including poor provinces where schooling is currently virtually non-existant. It's a shame that we don't know as much as we could about how a schooling system is established and built up; I'm pretty sure there are some practical constraints that would severely inhibit the propogation of a mature school system to the entire country. Unfortunately I can't be sure. However, I do agree with her in principle that the rural poor shouldn't be treated like second-rate citizens and that a full nine-year public education should be made available to them free of charge, if this is the way it is done in urban areas, or the fees set in such a way that they will be in proportion to the average income in poor areas to avoid the regressive-tax phenomenon. But like I said, the only cost-effective way I see this happening is through, say, boarding schools that accomodate children from a wide rural area, and I don't think the rural poor, who tend to be farmers, would consent to sending their children away for long periods of time. I have the feeling it would take some other novel method to overcome this type of rural cultural biases in order to implement the nine year standard across the entire range of geographies and income-groups in China.

Oh, and I added 大饥荒 (great famine) to my list of Chinese political phrases. Turns out 大跃进 (Greap Leap Forward) was already there. (If you're using Mozilla, mouse over the characters to see the pinyin.)

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