Monthly Archives: January 2007

You cannot choose history. You just participate in it.

As I am trying to integrate myself into the history of this country and this culture, I am still deeply concerned of the thread of history on the other side of the planet, the people in it, the struggles and fights generation after generation, and all the great fun playing in that culture. As I get more and more concrete and specific experiences here, the long-lost memory of my experiences in China gradually comes back to me. Just wish that the two threads can intertwine more and more in the near future.

But Bush is building up a fence on the border… Wait a minute, we come by air or sea… We can help them building the wall if they really want it, but to the benifits of no one. I am glad I caught the tail of Clinton years when I came. Maybe the beginning of another Clinton era too. Don’t know much about her. Always skeptic of politicians. Why didn’t she run for 2004, when we need her the most? Who is sincere? Al Gore? Why do Americans care about whether he is humorous or not? But I like Bill Clinton better. It seems that he understands better and is able to connect all the dots, a super speaker too. Don’t care. The real history is always made by us. (Good politicians, at the best, just work on top of it.) It is in our hands. You just need to actively participate in it. It is just like individually how you make the meaning of your life. So you do have a choice, a choice to follow the rule of the nature, to play well, and to be happy.


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The Sudbury Valley School, “School For a Post-Industrial Society” by Dan Greenberg

The link is here:

I agree with him totally on his analysis of our era of post-industry and what it demands of individual. Unlike many liberal or progressive folks who just blindly critisize mass production, we think it is historically an improment for mankind (see my blog

Our era is transiting from mass production to enpowering individuals. It is the beginning of a great era in human history.

Greenberg said it pretty well. I don’t need to comment too much.

About sudbury, here is another article from another Greenberg (don’t know if the two are related): the art of doing nothing (

Another great link about unschooling:

Especially, this following speech is highly recommended. It is a great insight into education.

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Chinese new year=thanksgiving+Christmas+new year+maybe national day(for the firework)

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In love with this world

A yawn after a nap, can be so free, feeling like home, a home I had never been to.

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Combatants for peace

I went to listen to speech given by Combatants for Peace (

I knew what they were going to say and I was highly supportive of this kind of activity. But I thought probably there were nothing new I could learn from since my own country went through 150 years’ turmoil and I am familiar with that. But I am still glad I went. It refreshed my memory of how I used to feel.


Two guys on the stage, one was once a soldier of Israeli army. The other was a soldier of the Palestinian side and stayed in Israeli prison for 4 years.


As the guy from Israeli said, the intension between Israel and Palestine is irrelevant to Americans since it kind of has nothing to do with them. For himself, when he was a kid, he didn’t know how it relate to himself. He proudly joined the army, thinking it as a honorary and obligation, just like many young people of Israel. But when his young sister was killed on her way to … (don’t remember where, just a normal place like a market or a church), he started to probe this issue deeply since it directly affect him. To revenge? He realizes that he lives in Israel. So this war is closely related to him. He is in it. He has to play a role. Thus in the following months and years, he started to think honestly about this war, why people are so insensitive, drawing such a clear black and white line…


Above is just a brief recap of what he said according to my memory. He said it pretty well. You should go to one of these events.


Listening to his words, I felt a real person talking about his real life. Every word is so fresh with life. It is so strange to have that feeling considering we are actually all living our lives. However, sometimes, we feel more real, sometimes we feel very superficial. I guess it is just how we feel. If you want to feel real, then you need to interact with the outside, have an impact, play a role. Actually we DO have responsibilities for people around us.


Americans’ lives are not on the line. But their money put the lives of the people in other countries on the line. Thus Americans have a responsibility to know those people, to know what American government is doing oversea. Americans shouldn’t just sit comfortably in a SUV and drive around alone without knowing what is going on in the world.

Once enemies trying to kill each other, now reach across to become friends working hard together. Looking at these two once enemies fighting on the battlefield now sit together talking about stopping violence and building peace, I am thinking if they can do it, Americans have no excuse not to resolve to peaceful ways in their response to 911.


I came from a country that had gone through 150 years of turmoil of wars, revolutions and various movement. Violence only tore people’s hearts apart, made them mocking other people’s suffering. As far as violent revolution goes, it didn’t change the soil at all. I am very luck to grow up in the peaceful era of my country. As I grew up, I saw people’s hearts change. We have been fighting for ideologies for more than 100 years. Now we start to realize what the important things in life are and what our happiness are. We start to pursue our own happiness and start to understand more of other people. In these 20, 30 years of peace, order is gradually settled. If you are amazed by China’s recent economical success, I can tell you it is mostly because we finally have 30 years of peace.This is the basic reason I choose to do elearning for my life. I want to change the soil in a peaceful way. For the same reason, I am very much against Bush’s war in Iraq. It is also why I don’t agree with some progressive folks who advocate using violence to achieve their grand mission (Some of them even suggest tearing down the whole civilization and start it over. But my question is: in that huge turmoil after your tear down the civilization through violence, who can be that super smart guy who is able to control the situation and guide people where to go?).


What is my role in this American culture? What can I do here? I really shouldn’t think about these. I should forget all these. I am still learning language and culture here. I should just play around, like a kid. I should forget all the idealism. Not for me yet.

Always this kind of dilemma living in a foreign culture. 🙂



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Two movies about growing up

Watched two movies with friends, Rocky Balboa and Night at the Museum. Probably both movies are not artistically deep or sophisticated. Maybe both are simple (Night at the Museum kind of has a nice plot.) But both are touching enough, at least for me.

To me, these two movies are both movies about growing up. One is how Rocky’s son grows up. The other is how Larry (Ben Stiller) grows up. In this sense, both movie tells the same thing: how people grow up.

In the movie Rocky Balboa said life is about how you can stand up after getting hitting down. No matter how hard you get hit, you always manage to stand up again. Yes, no matter how hard you get hit, you need to stand up and fight back. That is life. Stop complaining about it or looking for excuses. Fight like Rocky.

In the movie Night at the Museum, it is responsibility that makes Larry takes on challenges and grow up. Everyone in this world has responsibility, big or small. For Larry, it is the responsibility/love for his son and the lives in the museum. Yes, it is his moment. We see him taking all the blames, doing all the hard work, taking up the challenge to lead, serving silently… He just does it. In this small world, he grew up and made himself. After he gets out of that small world of museum, we are sure he can handle any challenge/difficulty in his life.

When we are kids, we just play. But when we grow up, we inevitably has to take on our responsibilities. Or in other words, to grow up, you have to take on the responsibilities. It is actually kind of fun.

I thought Night at the Museum is just a comedy for kids. But it seems well made. The plot is actually pretty good. At least the message is well-conveyed.

Well, this is culture.

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Subway Superman

Man Is Rescued by Stranger on Subway Tracks – New York Times (

I am totally amazed. See something can be done and do it! No thinking.

He probably knows he has a chance to make it. He probably also know that he might die together. For us normal folks, we will hesitate and think whether we have 100% chance before we do it.

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