Saturday, May 26, 2012

What is the Wisdom behind "Pulling an All-Nighter"?

Walking through the LSE library during the exam study period can be an experience in itself. Students, sitting quietly in their reserved desks and tables, seem to have not moved from that exact position in days. Behind piles of books, printed documents, and empty cans of Red Bull are sometimes near non-human-like red eyes, accentuated by the unnatural puffiness of their darkened skin beneath them. Sometimes, close-distance observation is not even needed for knowing that they have been in the same spot for a long, long time...one simply has to open one's nostrils to the bodily scents emitted in the area...

Monday, May 21, 2012

When Do School Grades Stop Being Important?

It is sometimes curious to find employers dishing out job offers with the precondition that the prospect employee achieve a certain level of grades upon graduation.  Head-scratching how that would work, considering that under the British system with its all-or-nothing 100% final exam system, the final results will not be available until the November after graduation, when the new employee is already, perhaps, been working full-time for quarter of a year.  So what if the expected level of grades was not achieved?  Does that mean the employee is then fired, not taking into account the good work of last 3 months?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Presidential Support for Gay Marriage: Ending "Moral Divide" in the US as Necessity for Effective Liberal Interventionism Abroad

Perhaps in no democracies in the traditionally labelled liberal, developed West is there such a huge schism in social issues as people see in the United States of America.  Even in local city elections of supposed "progressive" urban parts of California, there are plenty of incidents where right-wing candidates passionately declare their intentions to "boldly stand up for Christ" if elected.  While plenty of atheists with a "live and let live" attitude toward individual behaviors exist, equal numbers among the citizenry feels the urgent need to halt America's "moral decline."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

And then...to Malaysia! Thoughts upon Suddenly Deciding the Next Move

Looks like the traveler is ready to pack his bags and hit the road once again...to another place, full of unknowns, and full of excitement.  This time, the destination is Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and with it, my very first time heading into the Southeast Asian region.  What awaits me is a business development internship in a local Internet start-up, bound to be filled with unpredictability and sudden changes in a emerging market of god-knows-whats-gonna-happen-in-a-few-years.  Balancing the ever-changing tasks of an internship as well as writing my dissertation in a whole new country is going to be a wild ride...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

LSE Library Seat-Booking Service: Institutionalization of Laziness in Academia?

Another day sitting in the always-crowded individual study spaces in the LSE main library.  There is not a single open seat in sight as dozens of students, in collective dead silence, pour over (or pretend to pour over) their study notes and textbooks to prepare for upcoming exams.  Suddenly, footsteps are heard, everyone stop what their doing and look up.  They notice a new guy walking into the packed quiet area, checking out something on his smartphone, and then looking at the seat numbers on already occupied desks.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Chen Guangcheng, the Chinese Diaspora, and the Quiet Revolution of the Opinions in China

In many ways, the ongoing political confrontation with regard to the blind human rights activist Mr Chen Guangcheng is nothing new. Mr Chen, who has seen his fate tossed about by behind-the-door negotiations between Chinese and American diplomat since his daring escape to the US Embassy from years-long house arrest in his rural hometown in Shandong Province, seems to be just another figure that portrays the damning and ever-so-embarrassing situation of human rights violation in China.  Yet, scratch below the surface of all the usual opinions and a new picture seems to emerge.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Reflections on May Day: the Undying Role and Challenge of Global Socialism

As a global movement of unparalleled ideal, socialist internationalism was extensively damaged in reputation and image after it was ruthlessly hijacked by the likes of Stalin, Mao, and various short-lived governments in the developing world they supported in the Cold War.  As "socialism" became the justification for their respective political authoritarianism and economic stagnancy, the word itself and the ideals behind it became increasingly associated with lack of development and perpetual poverty suffered under suppression of any form of dissent.