Thought this was interesting

Ever heard of Shijiazhuang?  Well it has ten million people.

Here’s an essay by Puzhong Yao, who tells of his journey from there to Goldman Sachs, and his love for Costco:

It seemed like whatever I wished would simply come true. But inside, I feared that one day these glories would pass. After all, not long ago, I was at the bottom of my class in China. And if I could not even catch up with my classmates in a city few people have even heard of, how am I now qualified to go to Cambridge University or Goldman? Have I gotten smarter? Or is it just that British people are stupider than the Chinese?

With these mixed thoughts, I began working as a trader at Goldman in 2007.

(ht Tyler Cowen)

One class was about strategy. It focused on how corporate mottos and logos could inspire employees. Many of the students had worked for nonprofits or health care or tech companies, all of which had mottos about changing the world, saving lives, saving the planet, etc. The professor seemed to like these mottos. I told him that at Goldman our motto was “be long-term greedy.” The professor couldn’t understand this motto or why it was inspiring. I explained to him that everyone else in the market was short-term greedy and, as a result, we took all their money. Since traders like money, this was inspiring.


Cultural revolution in the films of Zhang Yimou

At a time in my life when I had a lot of time and a physical DVD Netflix account I started watching the films of Zhang Yimou.

These movies are great.  The plots are crazy, but compelling.  There are other ways to tell stories besides the save the cat way.

(save the cat lol there’s a famine killing forty million people!)

A woman married to the brutal and infertile owner of a dye mill in rural China conceives a boy with her husband’s nephew but is forced to raise her son as her husband’s heir without revealing his parentage in this circular tragedy.

for example

Plus just trying to discern the basic premises the characters assume or the worldview of the movie assumes adds a whole other level

Been thinking about these movies in the context of a much, much, much more minor cultural revolution I perceive in the USA and especially Hollywood/the media, where people are like examining themselves and confessing to their political crimes.

Zhang was born in Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi province. Zhang’s father, a dermatologist, had been an officer in the National Revolutionary Army under Chiang Kai-shek during the Chinese Civil War; an uncle, and an elder brother had followed the Nationalist forces to Taiwan after their 1949 defeat. As a result, Zhang faced difficulties in his early life.

During the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, Zhang left his school studies and went to work, first as a farm labourer for 3 years, and later at a cotton textile mill for 7 years in the city of Xianyang.  During this time he took up painting and amateur still photography, selling his own blood to buy his first camera.[10]


Today’s I Ching

In some translations springtime is rendered as Long June

from:

the only book I’ll ever need?!

if I want to learn more about China I can pick up this month’s Westways:

Lol did somebody pitch Westways “how about a story about China?”

WESTWAYS EDITOR: what angle?

PITCHER: Everything from cities to cuisine!  All the facets!

EDITOR: All?!

PITCHER: Well, many facets.

EDITOR: Is there enough there?

PITCHER: I think so.  Did you know it is a 5,000 year old civilization?

EDITOR: Wow!  OK let’s also have a piece on Iceland and car racing for amateurs and I think we’re good!


Democracy plaything

Indeed, it has long been in the Chinese government’s interest to sow cynicism among its citizens about the mechanisms of democracy. The current Administration and its steady stream of blunders have made Beijing’s task appreciably less difficult.

From this New Yorker thing by Jiayang Fan.

Some years ago at a dinner in Shanghai a smart person gave me his a somewhat jaded take on what would happen if China got democracy.  He described how some huckster demagogue from TV would get elected and be terrible.

Peggy Noonan worth reading as usual.  She got me to subscribe to the WSJ:

Here’s an idea.

It would be good if top Hill Republicans went en masse to the president and said: “Stop it. Clean up your act. Shut your mouth. Do your job. Stop tweeting. Stop seething. Stop wasting time. You lost the thread and don’t even know what you were elected to do anymore. Get a grip. Grow up and look at the terrain, see it for what it is. We have limited time. Every day you undercut yourself, you undercut us. More important, you keep from happening the good policy things we could have done together. If you don’t grow up fast, you’ll wind up abandoned and alone. Act like a president or leave the presidency.”

As Ms. Noonan points out that’s unlikely to be effective for long but it’s something positive.