Getting Funky in Week 10: It’s a CELEBRA-SHON (maybe)

It’s been a funny old hump day, here in the middle of week 10 – aka FINALS WEEK. Found myself working on my trade and inequality paper in the morning…. (covering some very interesting literature about how the income equalisation and broad-based gains traditional trade models predicted to come about have actually not turned out to be the case – instead income inequality has widened, low-skilled workers have lost out and trade liberalisation has turned out to be a disaster for some countries…)….

Then took a study break over lunch to attend a talk about public opinion in China with Stanley Rosen, Director of the East Asian Studies Center at the University of Southern California. And when I say over lunch, I mean 2 mini subway sandwiches, courtesy of the Jackson/Ho China Forum at Korbel which put on the event. Thanks guys…every little helps…

Rosen’s talk provided an interesting insight into Chinese public opinion, through exploration of their coverage of world and domestic events. For example, LINSANITY, involving Taiwanese-American NBA player Jeremy Lin. Lin is a very troubling character for China since he identifies as being Taiwanese, would never have succeeded in the chinese sports system due to his height and evangelical christianity…and yet they seek to embrace him. Rosen also briefly reviewed highlights of some very interesting surveys conducted within China. Rosen specialises in the political economy of film in China and talked a bit about recent trends in movie-going by Chinese people and how the Government is responding to those. For example, Avatar was the number one movie in China last year, followed by Kungfu Panda 1 and Kungfu Panda 2….but a visit to see Kungfu Panda is recorded as a visit to see a “propaganda” movie – – i.e. something patriotic and supportive of the CCP. Essentially, they are fudging their box office numbers, to hide mask the popularity of US vs. Chinese pop culture. Yet at the same time, many Chinese themselves see US culture as a threat and support efforts to bolster Chinese cultural expression. So many contradictions…but I suppose that is what’s to be expected in a country of over a billion people. Can’t easily generalise about that many people.

Public perception of income inequality is another key and very intriguing issue – for example, how many people self-identify as being part of the middle class? If you do, you’re more likely to support the government, but there’s an increasing perception in China that there is no middle class….just the poor and the super rich. Rosen noted that the government is extremely sensitive to this and has moved to ban words such as “luxury” and “high class” from advertising, to minimise the potentially-destabiilising perception of income differentials. But how long can you go on just blurring over the truth? Especially in an internet age.

Then….lo and behold… in the middle of the talk… I get a missed call….from a DC number! Now here’s the cliffhanger part of this blog entry… because I am not going to say who was calling, mainly because there is strong scientific evidence that “jinxing” is a REAL phenomena…(ahem)… but I will say that just a voicemail from this person and this particular organisation was very, very exciting for me from a potential professional future point of view…

But still very early days yet.

I will update further at the appropriate time!

Until then…I leave you with what I had going around in my head for at least 30 minutes after that particular call…

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Posted on March 8, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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