Friday, July 25, 2014

The 2014 Berlin Espionage Scandal And NSA Surveillance Of German Citizens

US-German Relations in the Wake of NSA Surveillance of German Citizens

"Soon, the soccer after-party and media shindigs will be over, and Berlin gets sober again. German politicians from left and right are trenching in for a US revenge. It won’t be pretty. Ask any senior official or diplomat from Vietnam, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, Japan, China, or any place really, what happened when their governments tackled US interests: economic penalties, political manipulations, and personal defamations."

[READ FULL ARTICLE on Dissident Voice ]

Strange World of Tokyo Akihabara

The World of Akihabara: Strange Akiba, Electronic Town, at JR Akihabara Station in Tokyo. A space for computer nerds, comic freaks, toy collectors, and all those other other ‘otaku' -geeks | via Tumblr

Sunday, July 20, 2014

There is a sociological concept called the "East-West dichotomy

Good point by Jay Walker. The East-West Dichotomy indeed marginalizes African cultures (and South-American ones, by the way), but that is largely because European imperialism and colonialism took care of their traditions -with fatal consequences for their declining significance in World history, as we know today.

Likewise, the Slavic territories (Russia, Eastern Europe) and the Middle East were not mentioned enough in the book, partly for limited time and research, but also because those cultures either allied with the West or the East; never did they command or constitute a hemisphere of their own. Islam is largely considered an Oriental cultural system, while Russian-Orthodox is considered an Occidental cultural system respectively. I am well aware that these are generalizations (which are inevitable in philosophy), and that there are plenty of Western elements in Islam (it is, after all, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion) borrowing heavily from the Judaic-Christian tradition; and likewise that a case could be made for the Slavs, because of their geographical destiny, to be thinking people of the East, which by their historical loyalty to Christianity and their fondness of the Greco-Hellenic tradition they are clearly not.

In the end, however, we still talk about "the East" and "the West", and all people, no matter from which part of the world, see themselves as belonging (or leaning toward) either the Eastern hemisphere or the Western hemisphere; while someone who claimed he belonged to nowhere or fell in between, I'm afraid, has no meaningful category to hold onto.

"Politically-minded people and others express it when they allude to "the West", "Western ideas" or make statements about the "East", or "Eastern philosophy". Basically, the East-West dichotomy is used to identify and categorize all world cultures and political systems by way of a single, rigid, binary socio-political model. Dividing the world by who and what is "Western" & "Eastern." Thorsten J. Pattberg reveals his own flawed reasoning with such an over-simplied deduction of the world, in his book The East-West Dichotomy." --Jay Walker, Love Hate Black White

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


裴德思, 系北大毕业

作者裴德思Thorsten Pattberg), 德国籍系北大毕业的比较文学博士曾在北京大学高等人文研究院任职目前在东大



Friday, July 4, 2014

Baidu works for me

BAIDU VS GOOGLE - Advantages and Disadvantages

BEIJING – Baidu (百度), the Chinese 'Search Engine', is virtually unknown in the West; and it is certainly less technologically advanced and thorough than the US rival and global monopoly: Google (some of Baidu's functions are legal imitations of Google’s).

Still, from an individual point of view (your author writes a lot about China-related topics and also under a Chinese name裴德思), Google can be very limited, almost annoyingly so with so many US junk-sites floating on top of most search inquiries, and it is universally biased against Chinese (and other foreign) content. That makes sense. Google is after all a US enterprise and defends US interests. Consequently, if you search, say, for a China news item on Google, it will always offer you US media and websites in the top 10 results.

United States, Empire, Google

US pages, brands, names, and individuals are all privileged on Google's search results, and so are Google’s subsidies such as Wikipedia and Youtube. As they say, if it looks like a syndicate, it probably is one. On top of this, Google is naturally favoring its US peers, internet monopolies in their own right, in particular US social networks and platforms such as Facebook, Amazon, Academia, Ebay, Linkedin, Flickr, Big Think, Huffington Post, Tumblr, Vimeo, Instagram, and many more. The result is that other cultures and foreign views are marginalized or even ruthlessly suppressed (or at least delegated to the bottom of your search results anyway).
People just don’t realize how biased and pro-USA Google often is. Even Google Germany will always offer you non-German results for German search terms –by default, because the US feels it is universal and owns the internet.

Access to China Knowledge

Therefore, it is refreshing to (at least) have this option of using an alternative Chinese Search engine that may be limited and biased in its own rights, alright, but still spares you most US junk-sites. This feels especially privileged since other nations such as France, Germany, or the UK have already been colonized by Google & Co., and thus offer little or no originality. Worse, it has now become apparent that the US government in fact abuses its (subsidized) internet monopolies and illegally collects the data of all users who apply to US internet services -even if those countries are close allies like Germany.

Anyway, if you don't already know, you will be surprised to see how different some of the search results on Baidu and Google are; in fact, I would always recommend anyone working with China to regularly use Baidu –especially if searching for Chinese people, brands, information, and news.

That said, Baidu is successful mostly because the Chinese government banned or restricted Google and most of the above-mentioned US internet monopolies in China. The Chinese have good reasons for this. The authorities hope to limit US influence on world knowledge and how it is presented.

One search engine to fit all nations

Here’s the point. Imagine you are Chinese person in China trying to find information and the top 10 search results are all from US-sponsored corporations (again: Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Wikipedia, Wikihow, IMD, Academia, BooksGoogle, Answers, Amazon, Ebay... you name it). In effect, Google is helping all US conglomerates and corporate media pushing and spamming their electronic presence into Asia, even if it’s not in the local language, because Google and its partners (including the US government) all profit immensely from this form of digital patronage and de facto cultural imperialism.

On the other hand, a quick search on Baidu thankfully omits (most of) the US-spam and shows Chinese websites that are (sadly) mostly completely unheard of in the West -sites like Baike, Wenku, Douban, Zhidao, 163, Wenwen, Docin, Sina, Aisixiang and many others. It feels liberating to look at a world not yet perverted by stars and stripes. [Example: 杜维明]

The Chinese fear of a US world monopoly on knowledge is understandable and very real, and China and Baidu are trying to dodge a fierce stand-off with Google that for now they couldn't possibly win.