Sunday, November 27, 2016

How Fidel Castro Illustrates the Continuing Inclusiveness of Democracy Despite Recent Troubles

It is rather perplexing that so many countries around the world is mourning the death of Fidel Castro.  Yes, it is indeed true that he looms large as a political personality, with an oversized role on the frontline of Cold War-era, pan-Latin American, and even global anti-Americanism disproportionate to the small size of the island country he governed.  But that oversized role cannot compensate for the dismal conditions of modern-day Cuba, a country mired in economic crises despite strong performance on the social welfare, healthcare, and educational fronts.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Why Would Anyone Think That Monopolies Based on Trust Can Breed Economic Optimum?

"You know, after you guys delivered the inputs out here to your shop.  Another big NGO came to the village officials asking if they can open a shop here to sell inputs like you guys," the local agricultural officer nonchalantly mentioned as he chatted away with the program staff on a rather not-so-busy afternoon, "apparently the village officials told them they already have your shop, so they can go somewhere else for their own shop-opening."  With that, the agricultural officer threw a sly smile at the program staff, not willing to explain further the process of the village officials' decision-making.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

“中華軟實力”之在非洲農村看抗日神劇

在著者爲組織運營的小店旁邊有一個販賣盜版DVD的商家。每天從清晨到傍晚,門前的一個巨型音響會將店内正在播放的任何DVD傳播到整個村裏。在這裏,這種DVD店非常常見。若干月前,著者也談到它們正成爲把韓劇帶入當地人民的視野。它們巨大的聲音給平靜的農村生活帶來一些色彩,也同時讓無電視、無網絡的農民間接的瞭解外面的世界。甚至可以説,當地農民的世界觀被這些店面銷售的DVD決定,而在他們無法走出農村的現實下,對外面世界的好奇心在某種意義上被滿足。

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Is a President Trump the Proof of a Fundamentally Biased and Elitist American Mainstream Media?

People surround themselves with other people who have similar views and opinions.  And people of certain views and opinions tend to refer to similar sources for information.  So when one looks for certain information, and go to their regular sources (whether it be friends' posts on SNS or news outlets), they see only one side of the story that they agree with.  Given the universally unanimous opinion expressed in their social cycles, they falsely believe that the views they agree with are shared by intelligent people and are definitely in the majority, while the radical fringe has some extremist perspectives.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Linguistic Inequality of Modern Technology

For many rural Tanzanians, coming face to face with pieces of modern technology for the very first time is more than simply learning about its various functionalities.  The personal computer, the Internet, and its various websites are more likely than not, written completely in English, or to a lesser extent, another foreign language, and the prevalence of foreign languages is all the more comprehensive when the subject becomes more technical (e.g. manuals for troubleshooting software problems, guidelines on network configuration, FAQs on how to use a online system).

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Lack of Street Addresses as a Bottleneck for Urbanization

There are many things provided as public goods that people in other parts of the world take for granted.  Many of those public goods simply do not exist out here in Tanzania, and the importance of those public goods are not realized until they are found to be non-existent.  One of these public goods is street addresses.  Even in the largest and most developed cities of the country, most streets have no names, there is no such thing as house numbering even on the streets that do have names.  Partially given the woeful state of the postal system, no systematic effort is undertaken to change this reality.