Saturday, November 11, 2006

A catchall interview about China, Hong Kong, the US and a Hong Kong international student of the US

A catchall interview about China, Hong Kong, the US and a Hong Kong international student of the US

Disclaimer: This interview and/or any part of it do not reflect the stance or opinion of International Students' Council.

Patrick Yau is the interviewee of someone who is studying political science. The interviewer is doing the project of a class. Pat is trying the best to answer all the questions, but there is no guarantee that his opinion is unbiased or accurate. There is no guarantee that the predictions (extrapolations) will come true. No legal liability for anyone or any organizations to bear. Information distributed as is.

Some questions are supposed to be a bit funny, don't take it too seriously. There is no hospital online if you get your nerve.

How many people live in Hong Kong?

7 million

Do you miss home?

If I go back home every year, I don't miss home. However, last year it is first time I am in Pullman. It was so cold and I got winter depression and I just want Hong Kong. It is the International Students' Council and International Center that make me feel warm in Pullman.

America is the greatest country in the world, why would you miss home?

This question was asked in a wrong way. Which country in America are you talking about? How can you be so sure that America is the greatest country? I am not touchy about what is the greatest at all, but this question denies the consensus of the world about who is the greatest or who are among the greatest. For example, John is good at hunting, and Harry is good at swimming. I can't say John is the best person.

The US does not have all I need, and Hong Kong does not have all I need. That is why I move back and forth between these two places. In addition, let me give you an analogy. If someone stuck in his well all his life, he would not be able to conclude logically that his well is really the biggest in the universe because there are lots of wells out there that he haven't visited before. Visiting other wells is what we called "global perspective". Unique properties of countries/cultures are truly what making each country/culture great.

Not good: "America", which can imply the two continents of the Earth Better: "The United States of America", "the US", "the United States"

"American" is okay since we don't have a name for the people of the United States of America.
Well, all confusion about the country starts at there. Some of us say okay, and some of us say it is bad because it is culturally biased.

Some has been saying that the word "American" is enough to show how the mainstream doctrine that the people of the US think about themselves, no Canadians and Colombians. Languages do incorporate with cultures. A verbal language and the history of the language reflects how the culture which use the language thinks.

How is Cantonese different than mandarin?

The tone is different. Some slang are different. Formal written form are the same for both of them. However, informally, if you want to capture the filler words that is unique in Cantonese, there are words for them.

Did you ever find it difficult communicating with mandarin speakers who were visiting your Cantonese speaking city?

Yes. Because I don't learn mandarin well and they are speaking too fast.

Is Hong Kong very smoggy?

Nope for most of the time. Indeed it is very humid and hot in summer that most of us don't enjoy it.

If so, what is China doing about it?

If you meant pollution, Hong Kong is negotiating with local governments around Hong Kong. A few days are particular smoggy. However, if the sky is not smoggy doesn't mean there is no air pollution from China on that day. It depends how the wind blows (direction and strength).

You said that people in Hong Kong can have more than one child. Why is this so?

Hong Kong people rules Hong Kong. And the mainland people rules mainland China. Some of the policy in China just doesn't suitable for Hong Kong at all. In fact, the special administration region (SAR) administrator (or the governor, I just forgot the proper title for it in English.) encourage middle class Hong Kong citizens to give birth to more children for more tax deductible, just like the situations in other developed countries and cities.

Are there any other cities in China similar to Hong Kong?

If you talk about government structure, only Macau people rules Macau like Hong Kong does. If you talk about the extent of development, namely ShangHai and Beijing, and there will be a lot more than the above two.

China has many polluted rivers (like the US did in the 1960-70s), how do you think this might affect China's future?

Things will get clean up for sure. I am optimistic about it. Or China will just doom again.

What other pollution problems do you think China is facing right now?

Air pollution. etc. See the question in this interview that is answering this.

What do your parents think of you attending a school in the US?

Gaining global perspective, finish the unfinished business in Computer science.

Do you like America? (if you say no, you may be subject for deportation) <-kidding

Let me assume it is the two continents. Yes, some aspects of where I am at now are better than HK such as education systems.

What are the best and worst things about this country?

Bad (these are the things I really hate):
Too stupid to still have cars as the best way of private transportation.
The gap of the rich and the poor is way too big.
Racism and discrimination from non-trivial to very trivial ways.
The US people think they are always number one and they have to be number one.
The US hangs around everywhere like crazy as if I don't like I am in the US (too arrogant in some ways). China and Hong Kong don't do that.

What would other classmates in China think about you being here?

Could be: that guy is too stupid and rich to go to the US for study because he can't survive in the education system in Hong Kong.
Could be:that guy is going to be the bottomless pit for money (I have receiving some scholarship right now so it is not too bad at all.)

What does the Chinese Government think about you going to school here?

Exactly as: A bridge for Chinese government to the US government to make trade and building good relationships.

Do only students with wealthy parents attend school in the US?

Nope. Middle class can afford it.
Very fortune hardworking student may be able to apply scholarship, but not many of them.

How much pressure was there on you to complete high school with good grades?

A LOT! God the day I failed to promote to the last grade of high school sound like the doom of a few years.

Did you find there to be much competition in China to attend state-run schools?

Yes. Search the statistic and you will know.

What are considered the best schools in China?

Can't translate the name of those schools.
Search the web. The consensus is out there.

What are the most popular degrees to get in China?

MBA (stupid), accounting in China. Otherwise, I don't know much about China.
In Hong Kong, MBA (stupid, stupid!), business, accounting, finance major. (Not as much science students are graduated than business does in Hong Kong. Hong Kong currently is for money, not for science. However, HK is attempting to change (with the failure of dotcom bubble of HK in early years of 2000.)

HK is infested with MBA and MBA now in HK doesn't worth to do as much as years before.

Are Chinese schools often compared to schools in other parts of the world? If so, which ones?

Can't translate the name of those schools.
Search the web. The consensus is out there.

Did your parents pressure you to attend any specific college in China or the US?

nope. Even to take part of higher-education in Hong Kong/China is hard.

How did you end up studying at WSU?

In fact, there are not many undergraduate International Student in WSU Computer Science department. International Students are really the minority in my department at Undergraduate level. Last year, there isn't a single Chinese in my class for a whole year, and Asians are at most two or three in a class (and they are not International Students!). I feel so lonely that I want to join something that can represent International Students. I don't feel supportive and often I can get homesick. I know the trade off, so I am still here in the US.

It is not even easy to get my parents to let me study in the US. I have been struggling about whether one day I will graduate because I am not doing well in high school. Still, I am doing fine. I spent my time tinkering and figuring computer software and hardware. Now, I even try my best to hang out with people in International Center even though I am very busy with my schoolwork. I get myself open-minded and aim myself *fiercely* in developing people to people skills. I came from very very long way.

What are you studying specifically?

You had better fill in the blank.

Do you think you're the smartest person in your field of study?

Nope and not yet. Language barrier and teachers' accents are the bad things.

Please refer to:

What are your strengths and weaknesses with your field of study?

I am so proud of my English but this is still my weakness.
I have been in the United States three and a half years, and that is not very long at all in my own sense. I learned BAD English in Hong Kong. From the first day I am in the US, I have to catch up the speed of the instructors and TV shows, and I have to fix my accent, and I have to correct my grammars. It is more than twice as hard to fix wrong stuff than starting out fresh. That is why I have teased Alison about her Chinese (Mandarin) speaking because I think she is having a way better second language teacher than I have before and I cannot afford to speak fluently with my "suppositively" third language. I never meant to be mean. I think that I am doing much better now with English, but I still needs plenty of work but not as urgent as before.
The skills that I have learned in Computer Science is a hard and blurt skills. There is no people to people skills involved. It is very frustrating.
I am very good on picking details provided I have fully acknowledge the criteria of such critiques and suggestions.

Do you think most Chinese students who graduate in the US want to stay here or go back to China? Why?

Unless that a Chinese student has a sliver spoon in his/her mouth, after years of studying, and you know that -- to get a job!

For HK computer science like me, I would stay here for high paid job if any. HK silicon valley was a joke, it slumped. Well it is getting better now.
Most Chinese students would work anywhere that is the most beneficial for them unless:
1) they are homesick
2) having family issue
3) not enough money
4) sense of belonging
5) immigration rules
6) or they are working internationally in big companies. (not an exhausted list.)

Will you get a graduate degree?

Of course, and 90% chance I will get it in the US. That is in my purposed time line.

Are there any student groups who feel that a communist government is not ideal for China at this point in time?

Not yet. As long as the China is doing okay and thriving, not many students would complain about China.

Do you agree, disagree, or have no opinion regarding your government?

They are doing fine. But the communist government (especially the local governments) has to get rid of bureaucracy. Sometimes people cannot open their business because they don't have any acquaintance in the local/central governments. China will improve and there is no need to worry.

What do you think about Americans being able to vote and elect their officials to office?

Stupid people usually vote stupid presidents.
Smart people usually vote good presidents.
Well, smart people can still get blindfolded by politicians.
I witness a lot of Americans vote base on reputation, sense of belongings and emotions. Rich candidates may advertise on the television without difficulty. It is not a good thing.

Well, some Americans think they are running out of good candidate choices.

Television advertisements for elections are not allowed in Hong Kong.

Democracy doesn't solve the problem, it is just a supposedly better system that prevalently used in other countries, that is it.

What do you think about the Chinese government not allowing protests against their domestic policies?

This is considered as bureaucracy and the government should get improved. That is why Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau are different from other Chinese cities in some ways - the freedom of speech.

There are thousands of protests in China each year, have you ever participated?

Nope. I used to live in Hong Kong.

Are there any protests in Hong Kong?

Yes sure.

Why or why not?
Freedom of speech! petition and protests are allowed in Hong Kong provided that the order of the society is not disrupted.

Does the Chinese government ever do what the protesters want?

Sometimes, but not all the time. Chinese government wants to save its face.

Do you think Hu Jintao is a good president?
Yes, in some ways.

Good insight is what China needs and he has it.

Have you seen any of his policies take effect?

Not yet in full throttle, but it is good and alright.

What, in your opinion, are the biggest problems facing China today?

poverty and too many people. Economic and social gap between the rich and the poor widen.
Cities are competing without cooperations.
Pollution, poison food/medicine, and fake food/medicine.
Poor building and working environment (mining accidents in China always happen in HK news.)

How popular is an American in China?

I cannot tell. I don't know whether Chinese would discriminate against foreigners. At least, Chinese there at least would make foreigners feel strange about themselves. Chinese don't reinforce the idea of racial equality as much as the Americans do. It seems like making trade and making money are all China about. Alternatively, perhaps most Chinese don't bother someone's race.

When the US invades and destroys the red menace known as China, will you join your American liberators in our glory? (<-kidding)

There is no point in doing it. If it isn't democracy doesn't mean such alternative system doesn't work. I don't see the US is having good president all the time though. It is "none of the US business". The US isn't necessary to become a Borg. In addition, China is not as red as before (capitalism), that is why China has its own currency.

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