My GFW problem half solved

You know, that great nanny who tried to control everything and used us helpless blogger as leverage to force google to kneel. I had a lot of trouble after moving to China. Proxy works, but it could be damn slow, and fails so many times that I gave up quite a few times.

Now it seems that have unblocked 'blogger' (i.e. I can edit) while keeping 'blogspot' out of the GFW (i.e. nobody can read). Moreover, through tracing my reader/link stats I found the great pkblog. It basically provides a mirror for all blogspot posts. For example, you can view this blog at http://www.pkblogs.com/sun-bin/ , and my previous post at http://www.pkblogs.com/sun-bin/2008/01/professor-cheung-on-chinas-new-labor.html .

i.e. substitute xxxxx.blogspot.com with pkblogs.com/xxxxx.

Consider this problem half solved.

bonus (CJ7 long trailer :) )


Professor Cheung on China's New Labor Law

Professor has been a big fan of China's reform policy, because it is pragmatic and cautious; more importantly, it is the freeest of all free economy, and more 'capitalistic' than the US.

So it is worth our attention when he rings the bell.
  • 很不幸,因为新劳动法的推出,我不能不在该文补加一个脚注。九十七岁的高斯不会高兴:他坚持该文要以中国大凯旋的姿态收笔。
  • Very unfortunately, because of the launch of this New Labour Law, I had no choice but to add a footnote/caveat to my essay. Professor Coarse, at the age of 97, will not be happy about this caveat, he wanted me to end my essay with the full success of China's economic progress.
Cheung suggested a face-saving remedy for Beijing
  • 前思后想,我认为如下的治方值得北京考虑。那是新法不改,但容许工商业机构选择(甲)、采用新劳动法,或(乙)、劳工合约完全自由。劳动市场于是有甲、乙两种机构或公司的选择存在。如果员工认为新法对他们有利,可选执行新法的机构,否则会选合约自由的。倒过来,如果老板采用自由合约的公司,不同意的员工可以另谋高就。这样分两种合约性质不同的机构或公司处理,员工的自由选择可以说清楚很多有争议性的问题。适者生存,不适者淘汰,哪种公司胜出是市场竞争的结果。如果两种公司一起存在,我敢赌身家,自由合约公司的员工的收入一定比选择新法的上升得快!
  • I think Beijing needs to consider the following option. i.e., keep the New Law [to save face], while allowing the companies [in fact the employee] two options: the New Law and a "free contract"....... I am willing to place my bet, when there are two types of companies, the worker will choose to work for the second type.
IMO, to go one step further, Beijing can even let different provinces choose different laws (and perhaps force a few provinces to choose the new law), after a couple years, it will know which provinces win. This is fully consistent with the great helmsman Deng's Feeling the Stone to Cross the River doctrine.

Links below. Please use babelfish/google translator for a rough translation.






Lust, Caution (ii) East vs West

ESWN has a link which has made a very good comparative analysis of the perspectives between the East and the West with respect to movie and novel, taking "Lust, Caution" as an illustration. Well, to say East vs West is perhaps an overstatement, it is essential China vs US. But it is good enough for illustrative purpose. (I wish Roland will translate this as it would help to enhance the understanding between the two sides, which is, if I understand correctly, one of the objectives of his great blog)

The review made a few very good points, which I will try to elaborate further here
  • There is a very significant difference in the understanding of WWII. The West seems to have never really included the Sino-Japanese War pre-1941 as part of WWII. As a result, they failed to understand the fact that the scar of this war on the Chinese people runs parallel to that of WWII to the Jews. In fact, only few critics such as James Berardinelli made the connection between "Lust, Caution" and "the Black Book". Failing to understand this means failing to understand the conflict and significance of Wong Chia Chi's final betrayal, both in a social and personal context. As a result, the story of Wong was degraded into that of a Bond girl perspective for some critics!
  • Then even Berardinelli, who has always been very good at Asian movies, demonstrated his impatience at the attention to details and slow pacing. Of course, that is the part of "Red Chamber Dream" culture that is unique to Chinese, and Eileen Chang essentially made her name for her ability to write at the Red Chamber Dream style. The Chinese audience, inclusive of this blogger who is not a big fan of RCD or Chang, is well exposed to such a culture.
  • Roger Ebert, in his revised review, admitted he did not realize the theme of "forbidden love" across most Ang Lee movies until he received comments from his readers. This, I suppose, is related to what I have discussed above. (because, what is there to be forbidden for a girl falling for James Bond of the other side?)
  • It also surprised me that so many film critics (East and West) failed to realized the first love scene was about fear of assassination (body search) not S&M. I will just quote from the Chinese poster spanisheye "他知道她的身份,敌我关系,危险重重,对她这个已经是职业的色情军统特务非常不放心,怀疑她走那么远,要从腿下拿枪,当然坐不住,不能再忍受。摔到墙上,冲上去搜身.以我从男人角度对性行为的认识,这个撕旗袍的戏是搜身找枪,不信大家仔细看看他的动作,不是要暴露她的后面,是在翻看。后来却又在床上他才真正的拉下王的内部衣物。明显是搜枪,没有性的内涵,一般来说,胸部大概是要碰的,为什么不碰?熟练的抽打犯人,和其它女特务一样,惯例抓捕,王被捆绑(熟练的皮带操作,也表现了其专业特工的素养)。狗特务,香港没有处理你,居然追到上海了,他想。然后性虐待,不是偷情,是对女犯人欺凌。   
  • What really has castrated the mainland version as a full story, is the 2nd love scene with fellow student, IMO, not the 3 more explicit and controversial scenes afterwards "洁本剪掉了第二次,这就大大削弱了王佳芝的挫折感和她所感受的屈辱。"
The reviewer has not named the critics except Roger Ebert. But I suppose he was refering to Salon and a few others listed on the top of www.mrqe.com, which I frequents. As the Hong Kong movie critics are largely corrupted (either taking bribes or just being merely shallow and biased, see scoring of local movies in the Next/etc) and those in the mainland are censored nowadays I turn to www.douban.com's movie section and relies on Zacharak/Ebert/Berardinelli (I have skipped NYT's Dargis at all costs, ever since Oldboy. I fail to understand why he is still hired by NYT after so many disasters) for independent opinions and insights. I also have the luck of receiving free copie of LA Citybeat while I lived in Westwood, and got to read Andy Klein, who I regard as the critic who really understands Eastern movies in depth. In fact, Andy Klein is perhaps THE only US critic who understands Ang Lee and "Lust Caution". (perhaps there is sometime unique for being close to Hollywood)

p.s. It is also interesting to compare the behavior of Kwong Yu-man in "Lust, Caution", and that of Hans Akkerman in "the Black Book", before the girls were sent to the enemy.

Related: 色、戒- 杂谈

p.s.ii. (So i ventured into a few other western reviews down the mrqe.com list sorted by "popularity")
  • Slant : the critic would have thought that the Japanese propaganda filme that interrupted the movie Wong watched as "In a surprisingly funny scene, an American movie is interrupted by a newsreel that boasts of the country's resistance to Western influences, at which point Wong rolls her eyes and heads for the door" Well, Wong and everybody rolled their eyes because it was not "the country", it was the "enemy's country". -- Slant did make some interesting comparison with Brokeback Mountain about shelter from the danger zone though
  • For those who have watched Notorious, I would recommend this review as a compariosn with Lust Caution


Taiwan's friend down to 23

Taiwan's number of friends dropped to 23. As predicted, the average GDP/cap and size (both area and population) of the group continue to fall (Malawi being the second in my list of prediction, i.e. second largest. Bukina Faso next?).

One interesting tidbit of Malawi, is Lake Malawi, with its unusual demarcation and the biodiversity. Malawi owns over 70% of the lake surface. The lake also boasts the highest number of fish species among all lakes in the world.


Chinese propaganda posters

PLA march -- on a series of propaganda posters!


My motherland -- the best song in the 1950s, can you believe they banned it during the cultural revolution just because that line about young girl?

The original (Shang Gan Ling) movie version runs sort of a parallel with my favorite German song, in that they both played a role in maintaining morale at a critical time. The German fought for their honour and the Chinese fought for their homeland. We hope nobody needs to do this again.

Light viewing: Zuiikin is back

Not as hilarious as "Spare me my life", but here they go!

I have a bad case of diarrhea

Shall we go check out the night life in Ginza?

The company will take care of the bill

I feel hazy because of jet lag

The Climax scene really got to me!"

Last but certainly not the least,
Best ever choreography!

Sure. That's right. I guess so.

I wish my English teacher was that creative.

so long, "Time flies when you're having fun!"

and more, from skillful abbot.


Taiwan discretization - 1.4:1 not (3:1)

The voting result in Taiwan is KMT 53.5%:DPP 38.17%.

This is approximately 1.4:1 or 7:5. A mighty accomplishment for KMT. But it is not as absolute as the magic numbers 81:27 (i.e. 3:1) in terms of seats.

DPP only has itself to blame for such a strategic mistake, and incompetence in governing. Chen stepped down not because he has failed the voters with the corruption and governing fiasco, but because he has agreed to the rule of game that would magnify 7:5 into 3:1. As to how this magnification works, I will refer you to twofish, a great blog unfortunately also blocked by our GFW nanny.


China Eastern Airline Deal (ii) - 東航之戰

This blog switches between languages from time to time, depending on the audience group I anticipate. The google translation tool is not getting better these days, if you click this or paste the link under "translate webpage" to read an approximate translation, you will see how ridiculous it is -- let's stick to babelfish (see the right column link).

中環博客認為東航之戰是一場鬧劇。我不這麼認為。東航的問題,正正表現了國資委正在朝市場化的方向走。可惜的是,一些歷史的包袱阻礙了這市場化的進程。因為,假如航空業市場改革是完善的,本來就不應該有國航持有大量東航股票的問題。因此,我也有同意中環博客的地方。不過,中航既然是股東之一,站在競爭立場上攪局,和站在股東回報立場,都是合情合理的。而且,即使中航不來搞,David Webb也會來。

A few pieces of facts (some of which I listed in a previous post)
  • CA will not merge with MU (CEA), it will lead to monopoly and is against the objectives of de-regulation (and making Chinese business more competitive post-WTO)
  • SIA's price is way too low. Even if SIA walks away right now, the market price for MU is still way over RMB3.8
  • CA, as a shareholder, will want a higher price, as discussed above
  • CA, as a competitor, will try everything to delay SIA entering, as SIA will definitely make MU much more competitive. The proposed SIA price gives CA a perfect excuse to execute its hideous plan.
  • The State Asset Committee, from the perspective of shareholder, should support CA. It therefore gave CA a free hand and let the markt decide. It did its best job in keeping silent in this deal (Note the SAC's interests is not necessarily the same as that of the Anti-trust Commmittee, or that of the "nation"). In this I see a much more mature management of China's SOEs
  • If anyone is to be blamed for the delayed SIA entry. It would be SIA and CEA. They did not proactively raise the price to prevent this from happening. If they did, they would not have to lose a few month. My bet is SIA/Temasek will raise their bid in the next 2 weeks, to around 4.5-5.0
  • When SIA raise its bid, CA will be forced (by the state) to back out and perhaps (better) sell all its holding. The subsequent issue is that CNAC will no longer be in absolute control of CEA. However, the solution is to let some Private Equity, either the State Fund, or a JV of State Fund with international PE Crocodiles (e.g. Blackstone), to enter with SIA/Temasek to counter-balance, with some legal structure to make sure that the foreign ownership percentage is not exceeded
  • Finally, yes, CA is no way as good as SIA in terms of management. But CA is partnered with CX, which is arguably stronger than SIA (A close friend had a disastrous experience with SIA's ground staff recently, holding F class ticket between SIN and HKG). More importantly, CA management is much stronger now. MU used to be better run and more profitable than CA, until the last 3 years. The whole thing was reversed, so was the stock price. The only reason was the change in management in these two companies. But this does not change what I discussed above. (IMO MU's management should have been fired long ago, replace them with a team of 5-8 managers from KA/CX/SQ will achieve the same result as )


The SARFT censorship comments

I have a friend who works in a TV station in China. He has been telling me how ridiculously sunny some of the censor comments are. The censors basically apply his own taste to his job. At time the censor comment would even suggest a change in color scheme or reduce the frequency of episode because they think the filming staff "would not have enough time" to finish the work.

Well, below is an example of the censor comment. This being from the central government (and for movies), will not have as much entertaining stocks as those from provincial TV, but nonetheless would give us a flavour of what SARFT censor look like.

Note that every single TV episode needs to go through the SARFT censor.

Source: Douban's movie forum -- which is where I turn to for Chinese movie equivalent of IMDB.

转自:影武者电影博客 2004-12-12 21:50:56
    一, 擅自修改、增加情节导致影片基本立意出现严重偏差:
   3,第1027镜;影片较之文学剧本增加了二拨子娘台词:“日本子来咱们村都八年了,八年了咋的,他八 年了他敢动我一根汗毛?我行的正,走的端,我走到哪他都得高看我一眼。”
    点的,别歇着。” 这段床上戏时间长,画面、声音效果


The SIA-CEA deal -- it is a matter of price

There has been much uncertainties and contradictory news around the China Eastern Airline (SIA-CEA) deal, including an attempt by CA/CX for a competitive bidding.

IMO the CA/CX deal is impossible. It is just something CNAC/CA tried to force SIA to raise the price (CX, being CA's partner and very interested in the China market, can only oblige to join the show). Merging CA with CEA will be an anti-trust issue and I am sure the PRC government does not have appetite to deal with such complication at this particular moment.

What CNAC really wanted is for SIA to raise the price. This is natural and reasonable from a shareholder's perspective, when the current market price is more than double the proposed deal price (HK$3.8) for SIA.


ROC Territorial claims

This is the territorial claim by ROC (the Republic of China government) via wiki, which is the basis of the territorial claim (and disputes) for PRC until recently, when most disputes were settled.