Friday, December 17, 2004

Comments, Links

It has been a while since I spilled a bit of my mind onto this page, so I have a lot of things to say. Only some deserve a full post to themselves, so I will put the rest here:

  • Maybe John will have a good suggestion on this one: I'm tired of students, teachers and our own company's teachers pointing out foreign students to me at preschools and saying "he's a Japanese student" or "look, this class has an Indian student". How should I react, so they get the idea that it's natural for people to come from different countries? It's been socialized into Americans (including me) for so long that you don't make a big deal out physical differences or country of origin, that it's becoming very annoying.
  • An article in Harvard Crimson takes on US remakes of Asian movies. In the end it touts Stephen Chow's Shaolin Soccer as a true Asian treat. Puh-leeze. That movie, along with most of today's Hong Kong movie industry, is a total joke. And I saw a commercial for his latest flick at the hotel last night: the cinematography gave me a very made-for-the-USA impression, and it is conveniently titled 功夫, which translates easily as Kung Fu. Because nothing says "Oriental" like kung-fu!
  • The most effective medicine for dealing with the symptoms of my perpetual cold this winter has been 泰诺酚麻美敏片, known on the other side of the box as "Tylenol Cold". The doctor at the Putuo District Number One Hospital actually suggested to buy it for my severe flu-like episode, and I'd saved the left-overs and have been using it to hold back the runny nose during work. One interesting thing is that the box has the letters "OTC" on the front; Over The Counter is my guess. Then I saw it advertised on bus stops in Hangzhou. Then I heard another kind of medicine advertising itself on the radio as "不是OTC药品", "this is not OTC medicine", saying that it could be taken anytime during the day. So I'm confused as to whether OTC is a good thing.
  • On the train back from Hangzhou, I had my nose buried in Kafka on the Shore when I suddenly heard what sounded like the opening bars of Sergio Mendes and the Brasil 66's version of Tristeza. When you're in a country where you are used to hearing the same HK or Taiwan pop song over and over again wherever you go, you—or specifically, I—tend to notice things like that. Where was this coming from? It turned out to be the ditty for a Channel V transition segment introducing music videos on the in-rail (in-flight, but for trains) television system. Good old Channel V, who so excited me by sampling Pizzicato 5 and Fantastic Plastic Machine for transition segments shown during my summer at Princeton in Beijing, 2000. And what a coincidence, Konishi Yasuharu's Pizzicato 5 liner notes were my gateway drug to Sergio Mendes!

Big half-day music concert/festival at the Gua'er tomorrow.

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