TV has been a little too real as of late.
I was taking a short ride today on Beijing’s Subway Line 2. Whilst waiting for the train, I had a look at the replay of last night’s semifinal between Germany and Italy, where the latter, quite unexpectedly (in our part of the world as we see it), prevailed. They had some pretty cool moves and I mentally and nearly physically tried to mimic these moves.
Unfortunately, I was about a dozen centimetres from the boundary of the platform. Right underneath these is that high tension third rail. If I made a kick the wrong time, or with the wrong “swing” — bzzt! — I’d end up electrocuted.
Something in me says that either they need to stop showing soccer at Subway stations or — better yet — install platform screen doors. ▶
As of late I’ve graduated in semi-stealth with a PhD (or rather, “Doctor of Arts”) in communications (especially social media) from the Communication University of China. (It’s where, supposedly, people must have been taught how to communicate with one other — although I’ll lay off the “making-fun-of-my-alma-mater” for now…)
Seriously, I’ve kept the PhD thing very low key. That’s because there’s a lot of wild academics in China who are wild — because they’ve that PhD thingy themselves.
For the last three years, I’ve been, instead, travelling by train as much as I can. I wanted to discover, outside classes, the real China. The poor bits. The rich bits. The bits and bobs that are ugly, cruel, crass, but also those that are cool, neat, advanced, “wow”-ish and most importantly, real.
After three years of the whole PhD show, I can say that not only have I come out with an original dissertation on how to tame social media better (whilst not losing out to either anarchy or authoritarianism), but that I’ve also seen the country — China — much better. ▶
I’m telling ya, I haven’t always had good impressions of quite a few textbooks (the one my mum bought me in Hong Kong about maths in primary school was a disaster, with super-crazy names of fictitious people all over the place), but at least I let ’em survive. I did throw away one book — the one I had for my MA in linguistics and media presenting — because the guy that authored it was an arrogant brat. No, seriously.
But as of late, I’ve been taking a good look at a kind of snow — you got that one right — a kind of snow — as in snowstorm — in a campus in central China. Turns out these were books that overworked students ripped out in anger as their university entrance exams were approaching. It was quite a sight.
Seriously, though, this is but the tip of the iceberg in the disaster that has become the Chinese educational world. The edu system in China is a mess. ▶