Umbrella Revolution Wall 2014

Umbrella Revolution Wall 2014
Admiralty, Umbrella Revolution 2014

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Snake Alert!

I heard that there are two: one lives in our general area, but behind us. The other in Pui O.

I don't plan on walking past the temple back there. Oddly enough I remember some time ago that Stephen wanted to turn around when we were on a path out that way and said he thought he heard a snake. He absolutely hates snakes. A few weeks ago I was walking with Keohi and he too wanted to turn around and said it was scary there. Snake vibes. BIG SNAKES. Pythons.

The Python in Pui O supposedly keeps the population of stray cats and dogs down by preying on the litters...

YIKES. The Pui O python slithered around the playground in front of kids and parents and then slithered away.

To think I was just getting a handle on 4 inch cockroaches as they scurried around near Keohi's feet as he played outside his pal Bodhi's place. Shows you that just when you think you have a handle on the creepy crawlies you hear news like this and realize that you don't...shudder. Shudder...

I am SO GLAD I did not see it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What is a King?

What is a King?

To my son, it is any illustration of an older white man with white hair and with a rather round nose and round eyes. This man may be in garb he does not usually see grown men wear—perhaps wearing some kind of flouncy sleeves or with a long robe. And a crown, of course.

So he point to his T-shirt from the Memphis Greek Festival sent by his grandparents and calls it his King Shirt. I look more closely. It’s a cartoon character of a white man who is Greek. He is not wearing a robe or crown. He is simply a Caucasian older male in a vest and white shirt with long sleeves.

He knows the word KING from a few picture books that prominently feature a white older man in a crown with a robe as a king. He also knows this word as I have read him illustrated fairy tales, and they too feature kings as white older men.

So this is how power begins, or the association of power with a certain set of physical characteristics. I will be obliged to tell him that all kinds of people can be kings and show him pictures as clearly, a KING is not anything but an older white man. And what is he? A Korean American British King? Hmmmm... Beyond that, no matter his identity, how do all people come to accept what power looks like and what words mean?

There is not a single black or Asian king in his books (most are of animals, it must be said) and the library edition we recently read of the tale the Emporer’s New Clothes is not a Chinese emporer (I wish there was a version…perhaps there is one out there?), but a European one.

While I would certainly not censor my son from exposure to classic fairy tales and personally hate the editing of text to make it palatable to any kind of audience without the author’s permission, I would hope that there also be some illustrators who could possibly think of other ways to portray these classics. For example, he has one large book of nursery rhymes with a rather horrible set of Norman Rockwell-like characters, the Asian and black child randomly appearing as background characters, and another book (Australian) that shows the rhymes with characters as animals. Both were popular in our house, but I found myself doing what I always did as a small kid, flipping pages to look for the Asian character (she appears in the background of one fairytale in a nearly 200 page book).

Physical identification and awareness develops early. Mom said that when I was small and stepped off the plane in Hawaii, the first thing I did was exclaim: “Mom, look at all the Orientals!” Keohi has seemed to spot himself in the book The 108th Sheep by Ayano Imai (not sure why, as the little girl has black hair, but I figure it’s her Asiatic, potentially hapa face) and in the past has pointed to a picture of a 16th century Chinese woman on a greeting card and said, “Mama.” His parents have also appeared as Seuss characters, myself as a brown block with slanted eyes in Fox in Socks and his father as the grumpy green monster with the long neck in Oh The Places You’ll Go.

People are found in creatures and vice-versa. And kings can be many shades and forms.

Then why do kings look like old white men in books for the under 5 set?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Boston Globe Editorial Race Bias

Subtle, and stubborn, race bias

July 6, 2009

EVEN WITH a black American president, a white man is still considered more capable and trustworthy. This sorry truth has been reconfirmed in a new study from business researchers at the universities of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, British Columbia, Michigan, and Washington and at West Point. Controlling for objective measures of performance, white males got higher customer satisfaction ratings than women or people of color, whether they were doctors, university bookstore employees, or staffers at a golf course.

No one was more surprised at the findings than the study’s lead author, David Hekman of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He said it may help explain why wide pay gaps persist in the United States between white males and everyone else, as businesses may be induced to give raises and promotions to white male employees who are disproportionately praised by customers.

The bookstore study is especially poignant, because it captured unconscious lingering attitudes among college students, who were a huge reason Barack Obama was elected. Even women and people of color exhibited biases, but not as starkly.

“I had no idea the effects were this huge,’’ said Hekman, who is white. “People simply feel like they’re getting a better deal from white guys. Customers are more grateful for service from a white guy, even if it’s just an oil change or a glass of water.’’

Co-author Karl Aquino, who is of Asian descent, said, “What’s unsettling about our study is that when women and minorities perform better, they actually get lower performance ratings and are perceived more negatively. And we don’t yet really know why. They even judged the overall environment [of the doctor’s office, bookstore, or golf course] more negatively.’’

How then to explain Obama’s groundbreaking victory? Aquino and Hekman said Obama was judged by enough people as greatly superior to white rivals (though he still lost the overall white vote to John McCain). For average American workers who are female and of color, higher invisible hurdles of bias remain. “Based on our data,’’ Hekman said, “what it says to me is that if you’re a woman or a minority, you’ve got to be at least 25 percent better than the white male to be seen equally. It’s like putting a price tag on people.’’

America ripped off the price tag in the last election. But it clearly isn’t enough. The next step is for Americans to recognize their unconscious biases, understanding that everyday transactions are satisfying, or not, based on factors far removed from gender or race.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Christian Zheng Sheng College Website update

Interesting: they have taken off from their website their tuition fees which are HK10,665 monthly per student + pocket money.

Question: What kind of institution is this?