Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Australia’s foreign student intake soars

From the Straits Times – some recession indeed. Just wanted to point out that the Chinese student enrollment in Australia has hit more than 120,000. Staggering figures, with India coming in second with a comparatively low 97,000. The article does highlight rather pertinently though, that with Australia’s weakening dollar, it would make a lot of economic sense to study here.

Australia’s foreign student intake soars
Roger Maynard, Australia Correspondent
28th Feb 2009
Straits Times Online

SYDNEY: A new record has been set for the number of overseas students in Australia.

Figures released by the government this week show that international enrolment in education institutions around the country last year grew by 120 per cent to 543,898, the biggest rise since 2002.

t is the first time that overseas enrolment has exceeded half a million in a calendar year.

Education Minister Julia Gillard revealed that Asian student numbers alone had jumped by 21.5 per cent, with the greatest number coming from China.

Chinese student enrolment totalled 127,276, followed by India with 97,035 and about 35,000 from South Korea.

The number of students enrolling from Singapore totalled 8,845, only marginally more than that the previous year.
Ms Gillard put the substantial overall rise in enrolment down to ‘Australia’s ongoing relationship with our Asian neighbours and the strong awareness of Australia as a quality education destination around the world’.

‘International students contribute to our economic, social and educational development, bringing new
ideas and greater cross-cultural understanding to Australia,’ she said.

‘These connections have been vital in the expansion of business, diplomatic and academic links with the rest of the world over the past 50 years,’ she pointed out.

International education was worth A$14.2 billion (S$14.1 billion) to the Australian economy last year. It was among the top income generators for the country alongside coal and iron ore export.

The big question now is the extent to which the global economic slowdown will make an impact on this year’s enrolment numbers.

While Canberra has pledged to work closely with Australia’s international education industry to ensure that interest is maintained next year and beyond, there have been signs of weakness in the Japanese and Korean markets.

‘The impact of the global financial crisis on international student enrolment for this year will become clear in the coming weeks,’ Ms Gillard admitted.

However, the overall outlook appeared strong.

‘It’s encouraging to hear a number of Australian education institutions reporting continued strong interest from international students wishing to study in Australia,’ Ms Gillard said.

It is a view shared by the University of New South Wales in Sydney, which has an overseas student population of 23 per cent, the highest figure in the state.

International Pro-Vice-Chancellor Jennie Lang told The Straits Times there had been no dampening in demand. ‘We are certainly not seeing any downward trend,’ she said.

Indeed, there has been increased demand for places by students from the Middle East, Europe and the Americas, as well as Asia.

‘While demand for places in business and engineering has been highest, most faculties are booming and the number of research students is on the rise,’ she added.

The recent fall in the value of the Australian dollar is also likely to have a favourable impact on the education industry.

With many overseas students paying in US dollars, fees could work out to be about a third less in real terms.

Filed under: Chinese overseas

It’s been rather hard explaining to people what I intend to be focusing the next three years of my life on. I started with the succinct Chinese political communication header which did very little. Then I went on the the study of the rise of China and its implications on the status quo as perceived by the rest of the world…and how China is developing a media powerbase to rouse public opinion…and etc etc etc. Now I think I’ve gotten a tad closer –

The study of the myths of China taking over the world as seen in the eyes (or experienced by) of an English-educated Overseas-Born Chinese from 2009-2010.

There we go.

Filed under: Uncategorized

The ‘Danwei’

This never crossed my mind, rather the notion never has, because I’ve never worked in a Chinese environment. Now this piques my interest, the idea of an all-encompassing, take care of you to the max ‘job’, except that here, it’s a lot more than a job. Love this article. Great read!

Lifestyle in China – Danwei or My Way?
19th July 2007
Radio86 – All About China

Anthropologists define culture using basic factors: language, food and behavior. But in China these three criteria certainly confuse foreigners. First, the complex Chinese language presents a formidable barrier to cross-cultural communication. Second, the vast array of Chinese foodstuff–Chinese eat everything, literally from head to toe–startles Western eyes and palates. But third and most significantly, basic Chinese behavioral patterns conflict with Western norms. The most blatant difference revolves around the Chinese predilection for group dynamics within the work environment.

Westerners, particularly Americans, remain notoriously proud of their status as independent, private individuals voluntarily performing inside a system. Employees make autonomous decisions on the job, cherish their freedom and even demand personal accolades and/or bonuses when work is done well. The Chinese, in contrast, prefer to allow the employer to passively control them, even in private matters regarding their personal lives.

In 2004, when I arrived in China, my Chinese work unit, or danwei, enveloped me completely, just as Jonah was swallowed into the whale’s mouth. The Chinese regard employment as much more than a job, a paycheck and a few weeks’ vacation every year. Rather, it is a small interconnected world. A danwei often takes care of every worker’s needs, from offering maternity hospitals to arranging cremation services. China Oil, my danwei, offered me not only a teaching job, but also a free bicycle, a free apartment, free medical insurance and free entertainment ranging from opera nights to riding ponies in the nearby mountains. They had previously constructed a miniature city for the workers, complete with apartment houses, shops, restaurants, a luxury hotel, theaters, gyms and tennis courts, an Olympic pool, several parks and a fully equipped hospital.

“We are fortunate to serve in this danwei,” said Mr. Yang, a colleague. “They provide everything. I never leave the base to go anywhere because it is so convenient.”…

Click here for full article.

Filed under: Danwei

Mapping the hurt feelings of the Chinese people

Here’s a intriguing article about how China has been reacting to the things people around the world say about them. A chat with a friend also pointed out something rather poignant to me – that the Chinese are seldom embarrassed, more likely offended, or hurt. In a culture of ‘face’, embarrassment seldom seems a natural feeling ‘innate’ in the Chinese. Again, we have hurt, offended, angered, disappointed, but embarrassed? I wonder if there even is a suitable Chinese equivalent to describe embarrassment.

p.s. thanks Michelle for the heads-up.

Mapping the hurt feelings of the Chinese people
Posted by Joel Martinsen, December 11, 2008 12:14 PM
Danwei website

China’s blogs and online forums have reacted in different ways to the official indignation over French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s meeting with the Dаlаi Lаmа.

Boycotts, which played a large role in the anti-French sentiment during the Olympic torch relay earlier this year, were the subject of heated discussion (see Global Voices Online for more details).

But other netizens were inspired by the words of the deputy foreign minister; “The meeting grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs, severely undermined China’s core interests, gravely hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and damaged the political basis of China-France and China-EU relations.”

How many times have the Chinese people’s feelings been hurt, anyway? Blogger FangKC searched through the electronic archives of the People’s Daily between 1946 and 2006 and discovered that 19 countries and organizations have been accused of hurting the feelings of the Chinese people:

Japan: 47 times, starting in 1985
USA: 23 times, starting in 1980, when Los Angeles flew the ROC flag
NATO: 10 times, mostly relating to the 1999 Belgrade embassy bombing
India: 7 times, starting in 1986 and mostly relating to border issues
France: 5 times, starting in 1989
Nobel Committee: 4 times
Germany: 3 times, starting with a meeting with the Dаlаi Lаmа in 1990
Vatican City: 3 times, starting in 2000
EU: 2 times, starting in 1996
Guatemala: 2 times, both in 1997
Indonesia: in 1959, when a newspaper inflamed anti-Chinese sentiment
Albania: in 1978, for criticism of Chairman Mao and the Chinese Communist Party
Vietnam: in 1979, for a high official’s slander of China
UK: in 1994, over the Taiwan issue
The Netherlands: in 1980, over the government authorizing a company to provide submarines to Taiwan
Iceland: in 1997, for allowing Lien Chan to visit
Jordan: in 1998, for allowing Lien Chan to visit
Nicaragua: in 1995, for supporting Taiwan’s bid to join the UN
South Africa: in 1996, for proposing a two-China policy

Source – http://www.arctosia.com/archives/511 (Date of Access 09 Feb 2009

Click here for the full article.

Filed under: Mapping Feelings

Did Humans cause the Sichuan Earthquake?

This might be slightly speculative, but here’s an article from Science and Society that ponders if last year’s earthquake in Sichuan was triggered by human causes. Have we become so powerful, moving mountains and seas. Some serious food for thought.

Here’s a blurp.

Earthquakes, whether you’re a believer or an actuary, are “acts of God.”  We humans do not have the power to predict, stop, or cause them. Or so we think.  We all jumped a bit at a headline in The Telegraph of London: “Chinese earthquake may have been man-made, say scientists.”

“An earthquake that killed at least 80,000 people in Sichuan last year may have been triggered by an enormous dam just miles from the epicentre,” says Malcolm Moore’s article from Shanghai.

“The 511ft-high Zipingpu dam holds 315 million tonnes of water and lies just 550 yards from the fault line, and three miles from the epicentre, of the Sichuan earthquake.

“Now scientists in China and the United States believe the weight of water, and the effect of it penetrating into the rock, could have affected the pressure on the fault line underneath, possibly unleashing a chain of ruptures that led to the quake.

“Fan Xiao, the chief engineer of the Sichuan Geology and Mineral Bureau in Chengdu, said it was ‘very likely’ that the construction and filling of the reservoir in 2004 had led to the disaster.”

So. the question is – “Huh???”

Click here for the full article.

Filed under: Environment, Politics

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