Jessica's Writing Portfolio

Monday, December 25, 2006

Introduction



Hello,
I’m Jessica. Now I’m a junior in Fudan University, Information Science and Engineering College. My major is Bio-medical Engineering (BME) which belongs to the Electronic Engineering Department. Also, I’m a native Shanghainese and I love my city. Though living in the same city for over twenty years is a little monotonous, Shanghai has been changing significantly since the time I was born.

Moving on to my writing background, though there have been no éclat either in Chinese or in English writing such as some prizes on the national or provincial level, I think I did a comparatively good job. Concerning the Chinese writing, it is basically proportional to my reading volume, which keeps on accumulating as time goes by. At first I endeavored to write good compositions mainly to achieve good marks in tests when I was a pupil and I often did, but later on I gradually discovered the virtue of writing, to express in an organized and sometimes illuminative way, and began to enjoy it for some less pragmatic reasons such as encouraging myself when frustration came or regarded some certain problems from more various perspectives with more insights. As concerns to the English writing, undoubtedly, it’s tougher to write with no-native language. The problem of writing while translating unremittingly fazed me, which makes my composition stiff and weird whenever I can’t find equivalent words or phrases in English to express my thoughts. That’s why I chose the Academic Writing course this term taught by Mr. Corio from Virginia University this term. I believe my English writing can be improved to become smoother if I learn from a native writing specialist.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Cover Letter


December 26, 2006

Dear Portfolio reader,

Welcome to my writing portfolio to share my feeling and experience of writing during Mr. Corio’s academic writing course.

Everyone has his own view on writing. Some may think writing is a tool to describe the feelings awkward or unnatural to express with face to face communication. While others may regard writing as nothing more than a way of recording. However, as far as I am concerned, writing is to express in an organized and sometimes illuminative way. It is a kind of tangible art. You can achieve success if you dare to express your inner emotions and your unique insights thoroughly.

During the academic writing course, I tried a varied kind of writing styles including free writing, reading log, essay and timed-writing and learned their variances.

Free writing is a kind of writing I’ve never experienced before. Actually, instead of a readable composition, the result of free writing might appear to be just some broken sentences. However, another important result of free writing is crucial to a good essay: to find out what you are thinking, which can produce strong thesis. Throughout free writing, you just keep on writing without stop. Once you find something significant to say, you may have an exciting desire to finish it. But more often than not, ten minutes may have already passed and Mr. Corio will say, ‘Stop writing’ because the aim of free writing is achieved: to find out what you want to say.

Reading log is another new writing style name to me. It is to tell my feelings after reading a story, which can be quite free and informal. But I find it very interesting to discuss with my classmates on Nicenet about our responses to the stories we all read. Since reading is the foundation and source of writing, the language, plot, and design of the stories benefited me a lot to polish my English writing. I’ve written 6 reading logs for six short stories and I believe the stories were all deliberately selected and I like them all. I selected one of my reading logs and pasted it on the Blog.

Compared with reading log, the essay is more demanding. We were asked to analyze one of the six stories and write an interpretive essay. It took us more than a month to finish this task with several steps including thesis decision, three drafts, peer review and, of course, comments from Mr. Corio. My drafts are listed on the Blog. If you read the essay from the trial draft to the final draft, you'll find my fault step by step. I enjoyed the process, especially the peer review. In real life, I rarely point the faults of my friends directly as long as the faults are not too detrimental though I may not satisfy with their behavior. However, when doing peer review, I need not suppress my discontent at all. Moreover, I was quite fastidious when picking out my peers’ faults. It is very coincident that one of my peer, Bria, has the view completely the opposite to mine so that I feel like debating when I give her comments and read her comments to my essay.


During the course, timed-writing is the most challenging task. We have taken three times of time writing and the time limit was thirty minutes for the first one and forty-five minutes for the next two. Theoretically, we should spare the last five to ten minutes to check the grammar and correct spelling mistakes but as to me it becomes an impossible mission because I can hardly finish describing my view in the scarce time. That’s why I always find some ridiculous and stupid spelling or grammar mistakes when I read my timed-writing compositions. Situation was better with the last one because we talked about some strategies of timed-writing during the former class meeting and I paid a lot attention to the time showed on the right down corner of the monitor, omitting the content I wouldn’t be able to write in time. The best one of the three is selected and pasted on the Blog.

Apart from practice, I’ve also learned a lot of skills and strategies about writing. I know how to incorporate quotations and paraphrasing, how to proofread effectively and efficiently, how to write in a formal style, what the correct tense for the fictional events is and so on. Besides, Mr. Corio provided a lot of editorials and articles from magazines like New York Times, together with articles about his own experience in China for us as additional reading material which benefit me a lot. Now I can conclude my steps of English writing as follows:
1. To make out what the assignment is
2. To decide the thesis, topics of the body and focus of what I want to talk about and write an outline for the article
3. To find evidence and examples from my knowledge reservoir and available reference materials to support the thesis or topics of the body
4. To write
5. To proofread and edit, which should take longer time than write

I can’t calculate exactly on how much I have learned from the course. The only thing I know is that if I write some academic papers or resumes or personal statements in English in the future, the native English readers will find my language smoother and less awkward

Sincerely,
Jessica

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Baby’s Fate Premonished by The Newspaper Swaddling Clothes



Jessica Wan
trial draft one
November.9, 2006

The titular swaddling clothes, some loose newspapers, symbolize a miserable life of the baby wrapped in it. At the same time, they stimulate the emotion mixed with guilt, uneasiness and commiseration of the delicate spirit of a woman who is even trapped in danger because of losing in the mind triggered by the soiled newspapers. Yet, who is tortured more by the improper swaddling clothes, the poor baby or our hypersensitive heroine, Toshiko?

A number of the story’s readers might vote for Toshiko. Apparently, she is a kind woman with precious relenting heart or she won’t ‘fetch a brand-new piece of flannel from her cupboard’, ‘swaddling the baby in it’ and have ‘lain him carefully in an armchair’. All she did surmounted a normal people of her class would do—leaving the baby along and neglecting his survival. So she needn’t at all keep on grilling herself and afraid of the later vengeance to her own baby. However, the ‘swaddling clothes tortured her so much that she couldn’t help but stick to think the fate of the baby, her own son and herself and felt ‘all her fears and premonitions had suddenly taken concrete form’ when she saw ‘a man in a brown jersey who lay there, curled up on layers of newspapers’, which finally lead her into jeopardy of hurt, rape or even death. It’s unfair.
While in my mind, the baby will suffer more from the swaddling clothes as long as Toshiko was not killed by the stranger which is very probable since no matter how powerful his hand was, all he did was ‘seizing Toshiko by her slender wrist’ and even a desperado won’t kill a slightly insane woman gratuitously. Even though Toshiko would be uptight about the baby wrapped in the newspapers throughout the rest of her life, at least Toshiko has a ensured income from her husband and there is little chance for her to worry about sustenance. Yet considering the status of the baby, his life, portended by the soiled newspapers, is bound to be filled with thorns and marsh.
A new born baby, soft, delicacy and vulnerable, should be wrapped in warm, protective and clean swaddling clothes. Yet not every baby is lucky enough to enjoy the bless of the god. Some of them, might be born in a wrong family belonging to the lower class of a society with strict castes. Some of them might be born in a family with irresponsible parents. Some of them might be born in no family and deserted to a place surprisingly adverse against their survival. Under many circumstances, an illegitimate child, like the baby in the story, might pertain to the three hypotheses simultaneously. His mother, a nurse from the employment agency, was shame of his existence or she won’t conceal her pregnancy against her employees. She was indigent or she won’t have to work with an enormous stomach. Even if she was kind enough not to abandon the baby to the litter bin or the orphanage, the baby have no chance to ‘become a respectable citizen’ and obtain the fine, carefully education like Toshiko’s son have. When he grew up, he wouldn’t be able to get a decent job to maintain his life, and will very likely become a vagabond or beggar, having no fixed living place like the man in brown jersey Toshiko noticed at last. Comparing to the milieu the baby belongs to, Toshiko and her family were always staying in paradise.

Throughout the story, no evidence shows that the baby wrapped in the swaddling clothes will be able to avoid his fate of a soiled life and that the stigma of an illegitimate child is erasable even if he makes efforts to live a life like Toshiko and her family has. The author, Mishima, is always longing for an unvanquished, imperial Japan. Yet the World War Two became the indelible spot attached to it just like the newspaper swaddling clothes to the baby.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Comments from My Peers



Bria (19.11.06 08:21)I'm sorry for having kept you waiting so long...Well,here goes my comment: 1,I think you've organized your analysis quite well so there's only a few things about which I feel unclear.And your comparaison between the torture Toshiko have suffered and the one of the baby also makes sense. These are the two highlights I like most and should learn from you most in your essay. 2,Then I'll mark two places which I cannot fully understand: The first is"Some of them, might be born in a wrong family belonging to the lower class of a society with strict castes.... Under many circumstances, an illegitimate child, like the baby in the story, might pertain to the three hypotheses simultaneously. " There may be some logical problems in this sentence,at least from my viewpoint I don't think these three hypothesis can happen simultaneously even as for the baby in the story. I know that what you want to do is to demonstrate the harsh environment the illegimate baby would bear,so maybe you just need to say it in another way~ The second is "The author, Mishima, is always longing for an unvanquished, imperial Japan. Yet the World War Two became the indelible spot attached to it just like the newspaper swaddling clothes to the baby. " It seems quite unrelated with your previous paragraphs.So I think you should build some connections between them. 3,I have no other suggestions to make except the above ones since I think you've already done a good job. But should the author's and the story's name appear in the first paragraph of your essay?I don't know whether your style is Okay but I suggest that you refer the details in our textbook. Keep working,Jessica~!=]
Bria (22.11.06 14:10)My Poor Blog!!!!!!!!!!555555555
Fred (27.11.06 10:26)I share the same stand point with you and I believe that the baby will suffer more. The evidences you have shown do support your thesis well. As follows are the points which impress me a lot. 1 ’So she needn’t at all keep on grilling herself and afraid of the later vengeance to her own baby.’ Neither she nor her boy should be responsible for the misery of children. Moreover she could change nothing. 2 ‘Some of them, might be born in a wrong family belonging to the lower class of a society with strict castes.’ With different families, people will have different lives. A boy of a millionaire is more likely to have a bright future than a boy of a pauper. No one has the chance to choose his father and mother. However, there are still some points I can not understand well. 1 The baby is a miserable one because he belongs to a lower class? As far as I see, the writer emphasized that the baby was a bustard. A boy of a poor worker can achieve great success. While a bustard can not! It is an ethic problem which, I think, the writer wanted to show us. 2 Does this story have something to do with World War Two? Sure, the writer was a zealot of the Japanese Emperor and the failure of the war struck him. But what is the relationship between the failure and the misery of the baby? I guess you have your idea and you’d better make it clear, which will make your essay more excellent.
Fred (27.11.06 10:30)Sorry for a misspeling. Bustard should be changed into bastard.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Baby’s Fate Premonished by The Newspaper Swaddling Clothes


November.26, 2006
Draft 2

“Swaddling Clothes”, written by Mishima Yukio, tells a story taking place in Tokyo after World War II. A tender, kind woman, Toshiko, witnessed the birth of an illegitimate baby wrapped deliberately in several soiled newspapers. She wrapped him in a flannel swaddling instead, but still couldn’t help but keep torturing herself about the provisional revenge. The titular swaddling clothes, some loose newspapers, symbolize a miserable life of the baby wrapped in it. At the same time, they stimulate the emotion mixed with guilt, uneasiness and commiseration of the delicate spirit of Toshiko who is even entangled into dangerous grab by a stranger at last because of her losing in the mind triggered by the soiled newspapers. Yet, who is tortured more by the improper swaddling clothes, the poor baby or our hypersensitive heroine, Toshiko?

A number of the story’s readers might vote for Toshiko. Apparently, she is a kind woman with precious relenting heart or she won’t “fetch a brand-new piece of flannel from her cupboard”(133), “[swaddle] the baby in it”(133) and “[lay] him carefully in an armchair”(133). All she did surmounted a normal people of her class would do—leaving the baby along and neglecting his survival, because people of her class seldom feel “offended” by “[the] callous treatment of the newborn child” (133) as long as it occurred to them the child is illegal. She did everything she could to keep the child warm and even endow him with a little dignity, so she needn’t at all keep on grilling herself and be afraid of the later vengeance to her own baby. However, the swaddling clothes tortured her so much that she couldn’t help but stick to think the fate of the baby, her own son and herself and felt “all her fears and premonitions had suddenly taken concrete form”(136) when she saw “a man in a brown jersey who [was lying] there, [curling] up on layers of newspapers”(136), which finally lead her into jeopardy of hurt, rape or even death. It’s unfair.

However, this unfairness does not necessarily mean the oversensitive woman suffer more from the swaddling clothes. In my mind, the miserable experience the swaddling clothes had brought and would keep on bringing to the baby significantly outweighed they did to Toshiko.

The nominal swaddling clothes will torture the baby more because it symbolizes the baby will fight against destitution all his life. Rationally, Toshiko wouldn’t be killed by the stranger since no matter how powerful his hand was, all he did was “seizing Toshiko by her slender wrist”. Even a desperado wouldn’t kill a slightly insane woman gratuitously, so there is great opportunity Toshiko would arrive home after all and continue her normal decent “easy”(134) and “painless”(134) life. Even though Toshiko would be uptight about the baby wrapped in the newspapers throughout the rest of her life, at least Toshiko had an ensured income from her husband and there is little chance for her to worry about sustenance. Yet considering the status of the baby, his life, portended by the soiled newspapers, is bound to be filled with thorns and marsh—“a desolate, hopeless, poverty-stricken existence” (134). His mother, “[a nurse] from the employment agency” (133), was indigent or she won’t have to work with an “enormous [stomach]” (133). Even if she was kind enough not to abandon the baby to the litter bin or the orphanage, she won’t have money to fulfill the various nutrient needs he need during his growing process and might haven’t enough money to cure the diseases he caught. When he grew up, he wouldn’t be able to get a decent job to maintain his life, and will very likely become a vagabond or beggar, having no fixed living place, “wandering through the streets by himself” (135) like the man “in brown jersey”, sleeping “on a stone bench”, “[covered with] newspapers” (136) Toshiko noticed at last. Comparing to the milieu the baby belongs to, Toshiko and her families are always staying in paradise.

Moreover, the baby wrapped in the newspapers will suffer more than Toshiko mentally. A new born baby, soft, delicacy and vulnerable, should be wrapped in warm, protective and clean swaddling clothes. Yet not every baby is lucky enough to enjoy the blessing of the god like the baby in the story. Apparently, his mother was shame of his existence or she won’t conceal her pregnancy against her employees and resort to the ridiculous excuse “gastric dilation” (133) to explain “her girth and her appetite” (133). He would stay in a family belonging to the lower class of a society with strict castes if her “nurse” (133) mother does not desert him. Even though he does not care for the status of his family, it is highly doubtful if his mother will not hate and curse his existence or will be willing to give him enough maternal love a fragile naïve child needs. Even if her maternal instinct outweighs the shame, it is dubious if she has time and energy to show the love since it is very likely the nurse will feel exhausted after she does what she have to do to support her child and herself. Even nowadays in Japan, woman labor is despised and lower-paid compared to males, not to mention a nurse at that age of that class. That’s why there are so many housewives like Toshiko in that country. Even if the maternal love is strong, whose chance is extremely scarce, it can never replace the paternal love the “illegitimate baby” (133) is doomed to lack. All of these are very likely to cause more or less mental defects during the child’s young age. It is absolutely no surprising if the child would “[curse] is father” and “[loathe] his mother” (135) when he grows up.

Nevertheless, these above are not the worst. The child might be discarded to a place surprisingly adverse against their survival. Aboveboard or underhand discuss and jibe against his illegitimate birth might fill his memory. Even his mother was not brave enough to confess his existence, how can we expect the society to accept the child? If his mother won’t secure her job unless she lied about her illegitimate pregnancy, the baby have no chance to “become a respectable citizen” (134) and obtain the “fine, carefully [education]” (134) like Toshiko’s son have. Both the social denial, regarding him as “a lonely rat” (134), and the lack of respect due to the traditional ethic rules will cause severe mental afflict during the baby’s growing process and all his life. Comparing to this life long “utter misery” (134), Toshiko’s was shorter, less substantial and is likely to be lessen by her lovely son and the routine of a housewife.

Throughout the story, no evidence shows that the baby wrapped in the swaddling clothes will be able to avoid his fate of a soiled life. The stigma of an illegitimate child is inerasable even if he makes huge efforts trying to eliminate and live a life like Toshiko and her family has. This kind of shame is somewhat similar to the stigma of the losing country of WWII, which is also indelible. The author, Mishima, is always longing for an unvanquished, imperial Japan. However, the dream was smashed by the war, which tortured the country and its people more than any other standers-by. Since this simile between the baby and the country exists, it can be further proved that the stigma-the “soiled newspaper swaddling clothes” (134) -tortured the baby more than Toshiko, a stander-by.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Premonition of the Newspaper Swaddling Clothes


Jessica Wan
December.25, 2006
Draft 3 (final draft)



“Swaddling Clothes”, written by Mishima Yukio, tells a story taking place in Tokyo after World War II. A tender, kind woman, Toshiko, witnessed the birth of an illegitimate baby wrapped deliberately in several soiled newspapers. She wrapped him in a flannel swaddling instead, but still couldn’t help but keep torturing herself about the potential revenge. The doctor swaddled the baby in some loose newspapers, which symbolize a miserable life of the baby. At the same time, they stimulate the emotion mixed with guilt, uneasiness and commiseration of the delicate spirit of Toshiko who is even entangled into dangerous grab by a stranger at last because she was under an obsession of the emotion triggered by the soiled newspapers. Yet, who is tortured more by the improper swaddling clothes, the poor baby or our hypersensitive heroine, Toshiko?

A number of the story’s readers might insist that Toshiko is the one suffered more from the newspaper swaddling clothes. Apparently, she is a kind woman with precious relenting heart or she will not “fetch a brand-new piece of flannel from her cupboard” (133), swaddle the baby in it and lay him carefully in an armchair(133). All she did surmounted a normal people of her class would do—leaving the baby along and neglecting his survival, because people of her class seldom feel offended by the callous treatment of the newborn child (133) as long as it occurrs to them the child is illegitimate. She did everything she could to keep the child warm and even endow him with a little dignity, so she needn’t at all keep on grilling herself and be afraid of the later vengeance to her own baby. However, the swaddling clothes tortured her so much that she cannot help but stick to thinking the fate of the baby, her own son, herself and the potential revenge from the sinned boy who “will also have turned twenty”(134) twenty years later. So she feels “all her fears and premonitions had suddenly taken concrete form”(136) when she saw a man in a brown jersey who was lying there, curling up on layers of newspapers (136), exactly the figure the baby bound to turn into after twenty years, which finally leads her into jeopardy of hurt, rape or even death. Apparently, she was driven into hysteria by the delusion of avengement ahead of schedule. It’s unfair.

However, another group of readers might persist that the misery of the baby caused by the swaddling clothes significantly outweighs Toshiko’s. The soiled newspapers will torture the baby more because it symbolizes the baby will fight against destitution all his life. Rationally, Toshiko wouldn’t be killed by the stranger since no matter how powerful the stranger’s hands were, all he did was “seizing Toshiko by her slender wrist” (136). Even a desperado will not kill a slightly insane woman gratuitously, so there is great opportunity Toshiko would arrive home after all and continue her normal decent, easy and painless(134) life. Even though Toshiko will be uptight about the baby wrapped in the newspapers throughout the rest of her life, at least Toshiko had an ensured income from her husband and there is little chance for her to worry about sustenance. Yet considering the status of the baby, his life, portended by the soiled newspapers, is bound to be filled with thorns and marsh—“a desolate, hopeless, poverty-stricken existence” (134). His mother, a nurse from the employment agency, is indigent or she wouldn’t have to work with an enormous stomach (133). Even if she is kind enough not to abandon the baby to the litter bin or the orphanage, she will not have enough money to fulfill the various nutrient needs the boy needs during his growing process and she may even not have sufficient money to cure the diseases he catches. When he grows up, he will not be able to get a decent job to maintain his life, and will very likely become a vagabond or beggar, having no fixed living place, “wandering through the streets by himself” (135) like the man in brown jersey, sleeping on a stone bench, covered with newspapers (136) Toshiko noticed at last. Compared to the milieu the baby belongs to, Toshiko and her families are always staying in paradise.

Moreover, the baby wrapped in the newspapers will suffer more than Toshiko mentally. A new born baby, soft, delicacy and vulnerable, should be wrapped in warm, protective and clean swaddling clothes. Yet not every baby is lucky enough to enjoy the blessing of the god like the baby in the story. It is very likely the illegitimate baby will have a childhood without love and even hope. Obviously, the baby’s mother is shame of his existence or his mother will not conceal her pregnancy against her employers and resort to the ridiculous excuse, gastric dilation, to explain her girth and her appetite (133). The baby will stay in a family belonging to the lower class of a society with strict castes if his nurse mother does not desert him. Even though the baby does not care for the status of his family, it is highly doubtful if his mother will not hate and curse his existence or will be willing to give him enough maternal love a fragile naïve child needs. Even if his mother’s maternal instinct outweighs the shame, it is dubious if the mother will have time and energy to show the love since it is very likely the nurse will feel exhausted after she does what she have to do to support her child and herself. Even nowadays in Japan, woman labor is despised and lower-paid compared to males, not to mention a nurse at that era of that class. That’s why there are so many housewives like Toshiko in that country. Even if his mother’s maternal love is strong and is showed to the baby, whose chance is extremely scarce, it can never replace the paternal love the “illegitimate baby” (133) is doomed to lack. All of these are very likely to cause more or less mental defects during the child’s young age. It is absolutely no surprising if the child would curse his father and loathe his mother when he grows up (135).

Nevertheless, these above are not the worst. The child might be discarded to a place surprisingly adverse against his survival. Aboveboard or underhand discuss and jibe against his illegitimate birth will cram his memory. Even his mother is not brave enough to confess his existence, how can we expect the society to accept the child? If his mother would not secure her job unless she lied about her illegitimate pregnancy, the baby would have no chance to become a respectable citizen and obtain the fine and carefully education (134) like Toshiko’s son have. “Toshiko was sure that the doctor had done the whole thing out of spite.” (133) This spite portends obviously the society’s attitude to the baby. Both the social denial, regarding him as “a lonely rat” (134), and the lack of respect due to the traditional ethic rules will cause severe mental afflict during the baby’s growing process and all his life. Comparing to the baby’s life long “utter misery” (134) caused by the soiled newspaper, Toshiko’s affliction, the fear and guilty conscience, was shorter, less severe and is likely to be alleviated or even forgotten by the pleasure of witness her lovely son’s growth and the typical busy schedule of a housewife to take care of her husband and child.

Honestly, it is unfair to torture such a kind, tender woman, Toshiko with the swaddling clothes. However, this unfairness does not necessarily mean the oversensitive woman suffer more from the soiled newspapers. In my mind, the miserable experience the swaddling clothes has brought and will keep on bringing to the baby undoubtedly outweighs what they does to Toshiko. Throughout the story, no evidence shows that the baby wrapped in the newspapers will be able to avoid his fate of a soiled life. The stigma of an illegitimate child is inerasable even if he makes huge efforts trying to eliminate the shame he born with so that the boy will never live a decent life like Toshiko and her family lives. This kind of shame is somewhat similar to Japan’s stigma of the losing country of WWII, which is also indelible. The author, Mishima, is always longing for an unvanquished, imperial Japan. However, the dream was smashed by the war, which tortured the country and its people more than any bystanders. Since this simile between the baby and the country exists, it can be further proved that the stigma-the “soiled newspaper swaddling clothes” (134) -tortured the baby more than Toshiko, a bystander.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Selected Timed-Writing


December 21, 2006
Jessica Wan
Timed-writing 3

The world witnessed great developments in the last century in many aspects including communication and transportation, which eliminated the boundaries of countries to a large extent. Thanks to the open revolution policy, our country, China, caught up with the changes of the world of the past thirty decades. The globalization has and keeps on benefiting China a lot which also enables China becoming more similar to other places in the world.

First of all, the globalization of economic plays the most important role in this similarity. For example, the stock market has appeared in Britain and America hundreds of years ago, but after the establishment of PRC, it hasn’t been existed in China until twenty years ago. This is largely because the government realized the stock market’s great potential to stimulate economy in other countries in spite of the risk. Now, many Chinese companies are selling stocks on the overseas market. Another example is products. Honestly, without the development of transportation, the plane and ships, global trade won’t be feasible. But now, the thriving import of export business enables to enjoy Australia’s wool, Canada’s paper, Tai’s fruit and Germany’s automobile. Chinese’s people’s life became more similar to people’s in other countries because of these products. The last example is investment and setting branches of foreign companies in China. Companies such as Microsoft, GE, P&G have hired a lot of Chinese employees and bring their management style to China. Food chains such as Mc Donald, KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks also makes Chinese people able to try foreign style conveniently.

The globalization of culture also exerts considerable of impact on the similarity. More and more Chinese students are going abroad to learn technology and management and more and more foreign students are coming to China to learn culture and Chinese medicine. This exchange greatly enhanced the communication between China and other countries. Moreover, the inclement of global symposiums and sports meetings have also disclosed to Chinese people many the latest trend of the world. Many Chinese scholars are doing research in western cultures and publishing books to tell the ordinary people the history and evolution of civilization and culture outside China. Chinese people started to play tennis, baseball and other kind of sports which has never been heard by most people thirty years ago. Now the women team of tennis and baseball does a good job in the world-wide competitions. However, the more effective way to help one learn the culture of other countries is traveling. Thanks to the development of economy, many Chinese people can afford to go to Europe and America to travel now.

The globalization of entertaining industry also stimulates the similarity. This stimulation is more apparent on the youth, whose imitation ability is strongest of all age groups. The media affects the youth’s ideas but is far weaker and less efficient than the Internet. Now, if you want you watch Desperate Housewives or Prison Break or even the latest Justice, you needn’t wait until they are allowed to be played in China. Internet enables you to enjoy them just after they are broadcasted in America. On the Internet, we can also find the newest movies such as The Devil Wears Parada. The TVs and movies can potentially influence our idea which enlarges the similarity.

In my mind, the similarity caused by globalization does more good than bad. I feel lucky to live in an open world and enjoy the products and learn the culture of places outside China.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Selected Reading Log


Jessica Wan
A Woman Like Me by XiXi

This is a quite contradictive woman. On one hand, she is extremely diffident about her appearance, her education level, her talent and her fate or luck. On the other hand, she is exceedingly courageous to inherit Aunt Yifen’s career--cosmeticizing for the dead—a job sounds eerie to most normal people including myself and pours scorn on weakness of lacking “courage to resist the forces of Fate”. So I decide to call her Miss Contradiction.

I think many reasons contribute to Miss Contradiction’s diffidence and the most severe one is her pessimistic and passive attitude to life. Maybe she is not a gorgeous belle, but since she can attract Xia without makeup, I believe her appearance have some special appealing merits. Maybe she is not well-educated with ‘only little schooling and not much knowledge’, but since she can have good command of the skills Aunt Yifen taught her, I believe she is a clever woman with dexterous mind and hand. So there should have been no reason for her to feel enable to “compete with others in this greed-consumed, dog-eat deg world” or envy her brother’s former girl friend’s talent and beauty. Actually, in my mind, Miss Contradiction is luckier than the girl married a man she didn’t love because, at least, she can support her own life and beyond the mercy of anyone else. Yet Miss Contradiction feels ‘totally powerless to resist Fate’. In my view, the only trick Fate played on her was her parents’ early death. If she is not satisfied with her career, she can alter to make up for the brides. “Too many memories keep her from working at that occupation” is nothing more than an unwarranted and somewhat cowardly excuse, which shouldn’t be relied on by such a brave woman like her only if she is a sheer introvert or hermit. And she apparently is.

Once a psychologist said extreme diffidence can bring about extreme cynicism. Though I don’t know much about psychology, I think the argument is applicable on Miss Contradiction. She doesn’t believe in love, thinking a woman like herself is “actually unsuitable for any man’s love”. I think she hopes that one man will give her the love like her mother gave her father--free from afraid because of love. Yet she is not confident about Fate and think what happened to Aunt Yifen is bound to happen to her. In my view, if she is not so cynical about life, she should be sanguine enough to believe that her fate won’t be so poor as Aunt Yifen’s and one day her Mr. Right, having no fear of the cadavers, will riding a white horse to rescue her.

However, I do appreciate Miss Contradiction’s courage. At least she tried to resist the forces of Fate. So I hope the story can have a happy ending: Xia, just like his name—eternal summer, was not afraid at all about the cadavers and gave enough sunshine to Miss Contradiction’s life. Their love became more firm because of the mutual understanding, which helps them to determine to hold lifelong care for each other. The flowers symbolize eternal parting in Miss Contradiction’s profession, but in real life I believe they symbolize more about love and affection.