Monday, October 13, 2003

Update on Fukuoka City School Abuse Case
(Original post)

After a little checking, it seems this case apparently goes back a while. Here's a Yahoo! Japan article from the end of August reporting on Hayashida's suspension. It claims that the abuse began occurring before he knew that the boy had an American great-grandfather, during a period between April and June; it was only during a home visit on May 12th that the teacher learned of the student's ancestry, at which point, he told the boy that his blood was dirty, and pointed him out during subsequent gym classes as "the American." So it's not really clear he's an actual racist, as opposed to merely a generalized asshole who will attack any weakness in a target.

Anyway, if a teacher came into my home and insulted my family, I'd throw him out in the street, hopefully to get run over by a truck, and get my kid out of his school; I'm guessing the parents of this young boy had a similar desire, except that they were blocked from doing so (at least the bit about transferring schools) by the same public school bureaucracy which saw six months' suspension as appropriate punishment for this incident. Proving that government education monopolies everywhere, not just in the US, are completely unresponsive to consumer demand, leaving students not merely uneducated but in actual physical danger.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Fixed the archives

Well, mostly. Random numbers still seem to be appearing in the middle of older archives, and I haven't caught them all. But links are fixed, and the post archives by topic category are now up-to-date.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Upcoming posts

For Monday: Phonetic loanwords and scientific education (just one more spinoff from the whole pinyin-bashing thread), and what the push for "Taiwanese language" in Taiwan really means for non-Hokkiens. Posts in initial stages: The Ghettopoly Controversy and Asian-Black Relations.

Confusing "cultural competence" and "diversity"

Check out this opinion piece from the SF Chron which claims that the defeat of Proposition 54 allows us to continue collecting the racial data on our citizens which is so crucial to ... international trade????

The defeat of Proposition 54 is likely to lead to positive changes at the state level ... The California business community will benefit enormously from enhanced international trade opportunities with Asia, South America and Africa, enabled by promotion and emphasis on the state's diversity as shown in the race-concious [sic] data collection.

America continues to promote a shallow diversity --- one supported by racial data collection and the elevation of underqualified minorities to positions of power, one whose content consists solely of Americans of different colors but the same oppositionalist attitude towards the only culture in which they can function as adults. Unfortunately, this is not the kind of cultural sensitivity needed to promote trade with foreign nations and reduce the enormous American trade deficit with Asia. Language skills, an understanding of how to relate to foreign customers, and an unwavering commitment to high quality service are.

But don't count on American society to provide that soon. Just look at Tufts University's latest plan to further water down their foreign language requirement, this time with a plan to let students take Asian-American or Latino Studies courses in place of the final three semesters of the six-semester Language and Culture requirement. Courses in Native American and African American studies were already permitted; see a description of the requirement and the complete list of permitted courses. (Thanks to Lok for the links and explanation.)

Yep, once those Japanese and Koreans know how well-versed our citizens are in Ethnic Studies, they'll take their trade barriers right down and line up to buy our diversity-sensitized American cars.

Newsflash --- government monopoly abuses customers
Public shocked by unexpected downturn in quality of service

Conrad points out the case of Japanese middle-school teacher Hayashida Shinji, given 6 months' suspension after a continued pattern of verbally abusing and beating his students which included a suggestion to a boy with an American great-grandfather that his blood was tainted and that he should kill himself. The student is now suing the teacher and the city for 13 million yen. In general, Japanese teachers, protected by a strong union, receive very light punishment for most forms of misconduct. It's possible, though rather unlikely, that Koizumi's new challenge to the LDP's power (and their traditional constituencies, which include civil service unions) may change this situation sometime in the future.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

The difference between observation and attack

Proving that your audience is always much wider than you think when you write on the Internet, even if you haven't updated for 8 weeks, my previous entry on Asian Americans and Christianity drew a rather angry response from a passer-by. After rereading what I wrote, I wasn't sure what to think, and felt a bit guilty, especially after seeing DJ Chuang asking:

What is it with people who have such strong opinions + feelings about politics and religion? Hung out with a new friend last weekend, and found it fascinating that both of us were not dogmatic about politics or theology -- he noticed it first.. I thought it was just me all along.. it's not that we don't understand the issues, both of us are quite knowledgeable in theology, and with politics in varying degrees.. can "see" more than one side of an issue, and the complexity of things.. and for me, I don't want to run over people with my opinions or convictions (this isn't to say that I don't have any; maybe I don't have as many as some others; and this isn't to say that I haven't had my moments once a while).. so it felt good to not feel so alone + marginalized for once..

In face-to-face discussion, strongly-held opinions and feelings could cause things to get out of control. But in response to this problem, most people, even myself, don't actually try to be open-minded or control their feelings; instead, they tone down their statements, putting in meaningless and obvious hedges like "Of course, this doesn't describe everyone accurately" (as if any general statement ever did!) and "I'm sure there are exceptions" (when are there ever not). But when you're on the internet, writing a blog, such things are implicit. Most people wouldn't be joining the blogosphere if they weren't at least somewhat open to discussion and correction of their ideas. Maybe that's one of the reasons why I always feel more comfortable discussing linguistics rather than politics: it's hard to get very emotional about your position, so no one is going to insult you for it.

Personally, as you can see from the length of this page, I already have a big enough problem with loquacity, I'm not gonna put in more verbal hedging in addition. I'm perfectly aware that my statements don't apply to all AA Protestants or all churches. But they do represent a disturbing trend in the churches I have seen.

I think I figured out my problem ...

Three or four times I've done it now. I start up the blog again, go for at it for a month or two, then give up again. But it isn't because of laziness. Not quite. Usually, my blogging cycle goes something like this:

  1. I read an article that catches my attention and about which I have lots to say that I just have to get out to the world, even if I haven't updated my blog in months and suspect no one will read about it.
  2. I dash off an incredibly long essay.
  3. I advertise my latest work by linking to it from comments on other people's blogs, e-mailing people I think might be interested in the topic, etc.
  4. I get some response. People are reading. I start giving them more to read. It starts taking up more and more of my time.
  5. I get to the point where I'm updating multiple articles every day. I keep my social life going, but barely have any time for sleep, studying, looking for jobs, or other stuff I need to get done.
  6. So I quit for a few months, and then end up right back at #1 a bit later.

So I suppose the solution is to restrict my major updates. Of course, fewer updates will mean less traffic, but then, I guess once every so often is better than every day for a month and then nothing for three months. So I guess my principle will be, major updates on Mondays and not more often, and possible minor rebuttals/additions, acknowledgements, or links & meta-blogging throughout the week. Let's see how long I can keep to this kind of a schedule.

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