On Education Part II

Spending the last couple of days doing research for what I hope will be a book in the next year has taken into one of the pathways that I know will require a lot of research in the coming months.
The subject–higher education in China.
A large part of what I intend to write has a direct correlation to what the purpose of recruiting foreign teachers to teach at the University level in China is really for. From the time that I arrived in China, I was constantly wondering why they choose to spend so much time and effort recruiting foreigners (especially white American and British citizens) and then when we arrive, are not given any training about what we are to teach specifically.
Reading the different opinions about the Chinese educational system holds nearly as much propoganda as researching former Chinese leadership. However, it would seem that the main issue that the Chinese are dealing with when it comes to the aspect of higher education is a three fold issue.

First, the system since the Cultural reveloution has been full of corruption and deceit–which it developed during the Cultural reveloution because the schools were turned into breeding grounds for re-education in the sense of the newly formed Communist party, led by Mao. This system paid little to no attention in educating its pupils outside of its own idealogy. This cessation of education eventually (following the cultural reveloution), led to the discovery of potential gains from the development of a massive commodification of education.

Secondly, where as access was an issue before, the “college reveloution” soon took place and the chinese began to undertake a massive resugence of University development. For what purpose this was, I am still researching but my guess is two fold, First, this commoditification of education can become a cash cow quite easily. Those that sit at the top of the academic ladder in China are rarely academics, but moreso connected to the communist party–schools just become part of the machine. Families of all schools of thought, particularly Confucioun, believe that the way to sucess is through education. This, like it does elsewhere, works on all levels: if you work hard, do well is school, then you become rich. Its just that simple–but the fact of the matter is that its not that simple and will never be again.
Which is point three: The lack of new graduate positions in China is growing faster than ever before, but not fast enough. This past summer, more than 8 million people graduated from Chinese Universities, but there were less than 465,000 new jobs created in the country.
The offical Chinese line is as follows:
Chinese institutions of higher education admitted 5m students in 2005, sending the number of Chinese university attendees to 23m-the highest in the world. In order to maintain low teacher-to-student ratios and allocate the funds necessary to maintain high standards, Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, announced on May 10th that state councillors were mulling plans to reduce university admissions for the coming academic year. China faces a surplus of out-of-work graduates, according to the National Reform and Development Commission, which reports that 60% of students face unemployment upon graduation.

So, for now, this is what I am researching. My interest is to show the development of the educational system in a place like China…
Stay tuned… and try not to fall asleep.

Last Day in Chenzhou

These are the last photos of China.
At least the ones that were taken–as I go through and edit most of this over the coming months, in preparation for the book that I am planning to spend the next year on, I will hopefully be able to bring new pictures that missed the first round.
This is of what could be the ugliest baby I saw all year– bless him.

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Need I say more?

Chenzhou Mommas.

First of all, I hate pop up ads.
By this time in the expansion of the net, a few things should have happened. First and foremost, people with pop-up ads should be put on a list and all people who use the net should boycott these products.
Next, I am working for about two hours each day until I start work at Microsoft next Tuesday working on the start of the Chinese experience. Its difficult to write!!!
I will more than likely be posting another blog site to work on it from while preserving this one as I think this chapter of my life is coming to a close. Not sure how its all going to work out at this point, but I am going to continue to post pics and comments to this site, with China specifically being this blog.
So, if you like China, stay tuned– And boycott pop up ads.

Pearl Jam

I have been back in the country for exactly two weeks and I already have my first show completed. Last night, Pearl Jam played at the Gorge, in beautiful George, Washington. (See my previous posting on the Gorge).

Gorge Amphitheatre
Set 1
Severed Hand, Corduroy, World Wide Suicide, Gods’ Dice, Animal, Do The Evolution, In Hiding, Green Disease, Even Flow, Marker In The Sand, Wasted Reprise, Better Man/(Save it for Later), Army Reserve, Garden, Rats, Whipping, Jeremy, Why Go
Encore 1
I Won’t Back Down, Life Wasted, Big Wave, Satan’s Bed, Spin The Black Circle, Alive
Encore 2
Given To Fly, Little Wing, Crazy Mary, Comatose, Fuckin’ Up, Yellow Ledbetter

I will have to admit that from the excitement that had been building over the last couple weeks of the potential of going to the shows that I was slightly dissapointed by the overall experience.
Its not that I didn’t like the show, but I have seen Pearl Jam in much better form. Several factors I think heightened this issue, the top factor being the overall heat at the Gorge. Upon our arrival at the gorge, it was well over 100 and didnt really cool down until nearly the end of the show.
Another major factor is that lawn seats just suck for a band like that. Part of the fun in seeing a Pearl Jam show is watching Eddie do his thing. Have a chance to see what hes thinking and doing.
The thing about Pearl Jam that I liked the most is they are near perfection on most of their songs and Eddies vocals don’t sound much differently than they did more than a decade ago when 10 was first released.
Finally, lets face it. Seattle has this great, wonderful music scene, but the crowds suck here. There, I said it.
People just don’t know how to really let loose at shows here. During Alive, there was not one crowd rider– Hello? Its the song that really brought the concept of crowd riding into shows. There is nothing like floating through the air as Eddie shouts, “You’re still ALIVE!!!”
but the fans last night, we clearly not as Alive as the song would like them to be.
Enviroment is a major factor is concerts and the Gorge just doesn’t hold the magic that a solid indoor venue awards you. There are bands that are simply spectacular at the Gorge, like Dave Matthews, but Pearl Jam is all about the Arena rock sound. They would be much better playing a week straight at the Paramount in Seattle than three days at the Gorge.

I will post pics later.

The gorge is a funny place.
I remember going there a decade ago and it was this cool little venue in Eastern Washington. Over the years, I have seen it decline significantly with all of the different rules and policies it produces for the sole purpose of getting more revenue out of the concert goers.
Camping is probably the biggest offender. In the old days it simply used to a first come, first served camping situation and it was reasonable. Now, you can buy the tickets directly from ticketmonster and its expensive. A camping pass is over 30 bucks now for every night and most of the people that camp there do it loudly.
But this year, the other problems seem to have slightly corrected themselves. Last night at Pearl Jam, they allowed cameras and water to be brought it without any problem and there not police everywhere you looked.
Perhaps the gorge is learning that a few small changes might make people that the commute a little more often. Perhaps, I was just lucky and got some of the friendly people.