First of all, I want to thank you guys for keeping with the blog and checking it from time to time and all. I can't read or comment on my own blog, but I can still post on it. I want to say things to you guys and respond and all, but I can't. I'm considering moving the old e-chron to a site that can be viewed in China, but most major blogging sites are blocked in China (Which is what this update is all about). I'd be endlessly appreciative if some of you guys could e-mail me sometime just a short e-mail so that I have ways of contacting you. Especially Maile and all the guys who still check this site from time to time from the old WoW days. It's firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyway, on to business. Things are going fine here in Beijing. Work keeps getting more interesting and has been adding up quite a bit. It's good work though. Interesting, with lots of variety. Variety is good. I remember working at some other jobs that shan't be named that basically involved 30 minutes of work supplemented with 7 and a half hours of watching Homestar Runner cartoons and reading every bit of trivia about Star Wars from imdb.com, all while trying to dodge the boss as he walked by the office. That got old, quick. I finally feel like I'm doing something that I can actually enjoy, and that might actually look good on a resume. I might even be able to qualify for the 2 years of HR work needed to certify as a PHR guy, which would make me glad that if I choose to continue working in the field, I won't have to take that godforsaken test any time soon.
Life here continues to be interesting as well. As the Olympics draws nearer, hilarious new commercials keep popping up on Chinese TV that show Beijing as a happy place with cars stopping for pedestrians and friendly shopkeepers smiling, utterly delighted by being graced with the presence of neighborhood friendlies. The sky is always blue, with rainbows shining down upon God's green earth, with unicorns frolicking in the streets! Oh what a magical place!
Now, what's weird is that anyone who lives in Beijing knows that this just ain't the case. Cars often *speed up* when they see a pedestrian crossing, even if you have the green light. And shopkeepers tend to scowl at the presence of foreigners (unless you live here, then they think everything you say in Chinese is side-splittingly hilarious). So... these ads don't work for locals.
Ah yes! It must be targeted at people interested in coming to visit! Of course! Except... huh. Well I guess anyone who would be shelling out the dough to come see glorious Beijing would be of the right mind to investigate the place. They might check blogs of people who post about Beijing or whatnot, as I did. When I looked up information back many months ago, guess what I found? Lots of people... *lots*... complaining about traffic, pollution, etc. etc. So, I guess the informed potential visitor might more readily see these posts rather than buy in to the pink-bordered, disneyland advertisements sponsored by Beijing 2008. Hmm...
Well, I guess it would be all fine and dandy, but NOW I wouldn't be able to really show you what I mean! Recently, there has been an all-out cyberwar declared apparently! Youtube is now blocked, so I can't find the commercials so that you may bask in its absurdity, and major search sites are now redirected to the highly censored Baidu website! That in combination with other actual *world-wide* reports on environmental issues (sorry, the link for this site no longer works for me, figures!) and every blog on the internet being blocked, it's very apparent that China will do anything to convince you that Beijing is Candyland. And by the way, the health report I mentioned says that 750,000 premature deaths in China can be linked to the pollution of it's cities. Granted, the report was mainly talking about other cities in China that are *far* worse than Beijing. But the *reason* this report was censored was either because: a) Chinese officials thought the report was already too wordy and bulky, and/or b) these reports would do nothing to inform the populace, it would just cause social unrest. Darn. I didn't look at it that way!
Alright, so maybe I'm peeved that I can no longer watch Star Wars spoofs or video game instructional videos, but all the news about this internet campaign has happened in the *last week*. And it just further validates my conspiracy inspired belief that the repairing of the cables in Taiwan after last year's earthquake was stifled because there was a huge flurry of activity on Baidu and other Chinese sites as a result. GrrrAAH!!
I'm all for Beijing trying to make a good name for itself before the Olympics. I *want* them to do well. I *like* China (mainly the people). Sure, they can be rude. Everything about China is expanding rapidly... almost too rapidly. But why do they have to execute executives almost immediately after being convicted for turning a blind eye on what paints they use for toys? Sure this was bad, but this was a harsh move that makes them look almost barbaric. Why do they have to feel like they need to lie to get people to come here? Why do they have to censor *everything* on the internet and keep people in the dark? Why do they have to block all other websites in order to improve the traffic of their own? The way to compete in business shouldn't be about blocking access to other alternatives. It should be about making *your* alternative the best one! Oh! Guess what else is blocked here? WebMD! W...T...F?!?
Like I said, I do like it here. I like living here. It's neat! The people here are good people! But they have a long way to come to impress the world, I think. And I hate to break it to them, but it won't happen by the time 08/08/08 comes around.