I was watching the news on CCTV9 - the "international" channel of the state television company here - over the weekend, depressed to hear more threatening rhetoric in response to a proposed visit to Taiwan by the Dalai Lama.
The report quoted someone - a Taiwanese quisling from the Kuomintang political party, I believe - decrying the visit as "politically motivated" and "likely to destroy cross-Strait relations". The item then concluded by saying (I kid you not), "And Al-Jazeera reported similar comments."
Now, Chinese journalists are notoriously bad - even worse than Chinese academics! - at distinguishing secondary from primary sources; but even so, this was quite a staggering lapse. Indeed, even the intention behind the phrase is somewhat baffling. Is this supposed to be implying that the celebrated Arab news agency is adopting an editorial stance that joins in condemnation of the DL's possible visit? They didn't seem to be saying quite that. Or is the fact that Al-Jazeera is reporting such condemnations seen to grant them an imprimatur of greater credibility and significance? (And is it only laowai cynics such as myself who wonder if, by contrast, other news sources of even greater fame and influence - such as, oh, I don't know, the BBC perhaps - considered this story undeserving of comment?)
My parsing of this comment was this: "And this isn't just one self-serving, rent-a-quote politician saying this. Oh no. Lots of people are saying it. But we're too lazy to tell you who."
I assume that the native English speakers on the editorial staff at CCTV9 don't work at weekends. Either that, or they're not trusted to work on stories about any of "the three T's". Or perhaps they're just so beaten down by the relentlessly dismal quality of the material they have to work with that they've given up trying.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
It has of late become a 'tradition' that I end the month with a post about my love of the cinema, but I am rather thwarted this month by limited access to my blog - and to much of the rest of the Internet.
Instead, I shall simply refer you to my blog-pal Stuart who at the start of this month produced a great piece on China's Top Ten Cinematic Strops, fine movies which somehow or other got the Chinese authorities all riled up.
Friday, August 28, 2009
The numbing inconsequentiality of those last few posts should not be taken as a sign that I have succumbed to the dismal Twitter-ing mentality.
Oh, no. I'm just enjoying being in touch with my blog again, revelling in thumbing my nose at the censors.
You see, I just remembered that during the last big Internet clampdown (beginning of June) I set up Blogger access via my e-mail account. And it works just fine.
Ha, ha, suckers! What are you going to try now? Block my e-mail as well?
Well, they might. It has been known.
I have to go down to the local police station in a moment to try to re-(re-re-)register my "temporary" (er, 5 years and counting) residence.
I am tempted to wear a t-shirt I inherited from my pugnacious brother which bears the slogan: "Which part of FUCK OFF don't you understand?"
But then again.... I don't like to be unnecessarily confrontational.
And it's not written in Chinese.
Remarking to some friends via SMS on my "week from hell" last night, I tried to strike an optimistic note by concluding, "The worst is over."
What I actually wrote the first time was: "The worst is ever."
Monday, August 24, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
The small holdings of the 19th and 20th centuries gradually come into the hands of the large landowners; in the 18th century progress has been made and the first glimmerings of self-government appear; religious troubles and wars follow until the last Englishman, Strongbow, leaves the country; culture begins; religious intolerance ceases with the disappearance of Patrick, about 400 AD, and we approach the great age of the heroes and gods.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
So, here they are....
Seeing some Shakespeare (King Lear)
Catering a dinner party, at very little notice, from a woefully unstocked kitchen
Having my first serious asthma attack in about 30 years
Going to see Brüno
Drinking in a Swiss (?!) pub
Being publicly fondled by a sexy singing star
Getting stung by a bloody wasp
Walking 'home' past Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, after midnight, in the pouring rain
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Susan Heller (????)
I'm afraid I have no idea who this wise lady is. Yet another of those darned biography-less online quotations! Is it this Susan Heller, I wonder?
Friday, August 07, 2009
Every day dawns grey and cold -
An English summer!
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
So may I. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself on trips back to Oxford from now on, if I can't fritter away an afternoon here and there in his bookshop.
Monday, August 03, 2009
"You'll marry me in Vegas, or not at all."
My friends' wives are always saying they're going to matchmake for me, but they very seldom get around to making any introductions. My hostility to organised religions is a particular obstacle in Christianity-crazy America, as one of the American wives has despairingly told me. My aversion to religion leads to the further - and perhaps even greater - problem that I could never agree to being married in church (indeed, my abhorrence of churches has grown more violent, positively Damien-like, with the passing years, to the point where I now feel very uncomfortable attending a friend's wedding in a church). I once quipped to my long-suffering American would-be matchmaker that perhaps I should warn potential dates of this off-putting idiosyncrasy of mine by wearing a t-shirt with the slogan:
Sunday, August 02, 2009
(I'm intrigued also as to how this may relate to the concepts of 'falling in love' - and remaining in love! - with adults. I think there's only one of my exes - only one of my recent-ish exes, anyway - who still inspires this kind of spontaneous affection in me. What kind of pheromones did she blitz me with??)