What’s Up? I’ve Been Blogging

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The Snow Melts Somewhere

Some of you have told me that you’d like to know more about me. So this post is about some recent news in my life… that have to do with blogging! I know this isn’t exactly what you guys meant, so I hope I don’t bore you!

It became quite a long post, so here’s a quick summary: this post includes a doppelganger, spammers, and some basic tips for improving your blog’s performance!

From a trip to the Dominican Rep., 2008

Things that have been going on with my blog lately

Most of you don’t know this, but I’m actually fascinated by the mysterious world of internet marketing and search engine optimization!

I already have a marketing background and last year, inspired by blogging, I decided to do some additional studies in the field of internet marketing (while working my day job, of course).

I’ll admit, I’ve been stubborn about social media. I don’t…

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Dangal (Wrestling Match):Gender Inequality and Poverty in India

 

dangal_still

Courtesy of UTV Motion Pictures

First they ignore you

Then they laugh at you

Then they fight you

Then you win

Cast: Aamir Khan, Sakshi Tanwar, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Girish Kulkarni, Aparshakti Khurrana, Sanya Malhotra

Director: Nitesh Tiwari (Hindustantimes, 2017)

 

When I first heard about this film, it is very popular among the Chinese social media circle: Wechat friend’s zone. At that time, I was wondering how an Indian film makes such a noise in our community. Curiosity drives me to watch this film several weeks later, and it is really impressive. All right enough for my story, let’s begin.

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Dangal is a 2016 Indian Hindi-language film directed by Nitesh Tiwari with the genre: drama and sports. Meanwhile, this film is inspired from a real life story which depicts how a notorious perfectionist father Mahavir Singh Phogat (Khan) coaches his daughters to practice dangal, and finally win the gold medals in Commonwealth games. However, the story is always not that simple. Under the fierce competition and pounding orchestral blasts that took place in a small town in Haryana, Tiwari also put some reflections of Indian society behind the scene, for instance, gender inequality and poverty.

Mahavir Singh Phoga (Khan) is a talented wrestler from a small town in Haryana who has won the gold medal in national championship of Dangal but can’t afford to continue his career in the international arena. His dream is to earn a gold medal for his country. Meanwhile, Haryana is known as one of India’s most backward state in terms of gender equality. Status shows that only 60 percent of female are literate and an abnormal high record of female feticide, and it seems to be the last place to spawn female athletes (the Hollywood Reporter, 2017). Comparing to this, it is very much like rural Chinese villages that gender bias is a critical issue. By saying this, back to several years ago, a large proportion of girls in rustic area are forced into arranged marriage by their parents at age of 18 or even younger. Many of them are taught to stay at home, look after their kids, cook meals and wash clothes; in traditional Chinese terms, it is called “ xiang fu jiao zi” ( understand how to meet husbands’ needs and look after their children).  This ideology is much like what happens in rural Indian areas. In a scene when two girls sneaked out to their friend’s wedding, Geeta and Babita complained to the 14-year-old bride that how their father is too strict and trains them without a stop. “I wish my father was like yours” said the bride, “I’m going to cook and clean for a man I’ve never met. At least yours is preparing you for your future” (Ibid).  Thereafter, this conversation inspired Geeta and Babita to work harder in dangal. And this kind of housewife life is highly attached to most Indian females, it is not based on their own decisions but fixed destiny. What’s more frightening is that there are not many other choices left for them and a lot of them choose this kind of life according to their own free wills (Douban, 2017). And it is quite hard to imagine when this is put in a contemporary modernized society such as Australia.

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Meanwhile, back to the scene, what impressed me most is that when in the final battle, Geeta talked to her father for advices as she trusted him more than her coach. Her father Mahavir (Khan) told her that “facing this Australian rival is very challenging, you need to use some astonishing and creative techniques. And only the winner will be cherished by the public. However, remember, you are not only fighting for yourself. You are also fighting for these little girls sitting beside you and millions of Indian women, those who are disguised by the patriarchic society”. I was quite touched by this conversation, and finally Geeta won her gold medal in 2010 Commonwealth Game. It inspires thousands of Indian women to participate in dangal training as it provides an alternative for them to pursue their dreams, much like what happened with NBA in US for the poor black hood kids. In my opinion, as the society advances, females deserve to be treated fairly in all fields. It is quite devastating for me to see how certain communities such as rural places in China and India to treat our girls. They have little options and less chance for education when compared to male. Life is quite unchangeable for them and all the struggles they did make little impacts within their local communities. Our girls’ voices need to be heard.

To put a short summary, a good film triggers viewers’ shared feelings despite our dispersed backgrounds; a great film inspires real changes in society. In my opinion, dangal is a great film that eventually I hope will bring some real changes to the Indian society in the near future.

Kay Jingkai Xu (06/17/2017)

 

 

 

 

 

Reference List:

  1. Douban, 2017, Bo, Shuai jiao ba baba, yi bu ling ren e’xin de zuo pin, Available at:

https://movie.douban.com/review/8293417/

  1. Hindustantimes, 2017, Dangal movie review: Aamir Khan and Phogat sisters’ story win the bout, Available at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/movie-reviews/dangal-review-aamir-khan-s-gameplan-and-phogat-sisters-pace-win-hearts/story-3Gr1jsRCnImwshMvYkhn3L.html

 

  1. The Hollywood Reporter, 2017, ‘Dangal’ (‘Wrestling Match’): Film Review, Available at:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/film-dangal-wrestling-match-959164

 

 

iPartment: one Case of Modern Chinese Sitcom

iPartment is a surreal sitcom in mainland China, it is produced by Shanghai Film Group corporation and Shanghai film studio. The story mainly takes place  in iPartment, and the word “i” means love in Chinese. A bunch of friends live in the  neighboring apartments, many funny things happen in every episode. It is basically a life-show comedy that fits well to the Chinese consumers’ tastes.

However,  recently it is under fire of copying the jokes from the American sitcoms, Such as friends and how I met your mother.  According to my experience of  viewing , “yes”, there are several scenes and jokes 100% percent same to the sitcom: How I met your mother.

Confronted with the issue, one iPartment producer denied plagiarizing the American shows,but he acknowledged the joke is gained from different resources. When asked about the detailed scene, an actor in the sitcom responses ” it is the homage to the American sitcoms .” One thing can be put forward here is the lack of creativity and originality. Economic boom in China  leads the media market to be inpatient in gaining profits. And the heavy censorship and block of American TV production also makes the situation worse, production team can copy a huge amount of materials without being detected by the majority of Chinese viewers.

Nevertheless, the situation also changes a lot in the digital era. For younger generation, we can use the Internet to access more resources including American TV series. Therefore, though it is hard to be found by major audiences,the buzz still exists  in  small group discussion. Meanwhile, due to the advantage of internet , when trailer of new iPartment season released, the short video spread swiftly on the online world. For instance,  the company uses a method called viral marketing though WeiBo ( A twitter-like service).   Despite the copy issue, many contents in the sitcom also contains the recent event and culture in China both online and offline. Some internet language are also used in the play  that are favored by the young audiences. Sometimes, this phenomenon can be categorized as a ” glocalized” procedure, which means the content is globally produced and it fits well to the local content. But in this case, it is quite different that in China the content is produced locally and contains the global content. Due to the two reasons, at first the ideology of  protectionism in  domestic cultural sphere  makes the transnational media corporation hard to enter the local market.  And then is the central government remains to be highly skeptical to the oversea cultural production.   And as said above , the content of sitcom is derived from various resources, it may incur copyright infringement in the future. Moreover, the process of what we called “Shan Zhai” (which means imitating or copying the content from other resources) also gradually deteriorates the original and innovative production in China.

Girlfriend or DOTA? Game market and addiction in China

Online gaming market is one of the largest and fastest growing internet business sectors in China. There are 457 million Internet users with the two-thirds  engaging in playing online games.  One typical game which called DOTA  is extremely popular in China. DOTA(Defense of Ancient Towers) is a map for Warcraft 3. Recently,  a  game addiction story  caught the eye-ball on Chinese Internet. It is a general story that a boy is deep in playing the game DOTA, and  lost his interest in the relationship with his girlfriend. Meanwhile,  the girl is pledging with the net users to find a way to win her game-addicted boyfriend back. At last, the girl decides to challenge her boyfriend with a winner-takes-all solo game of DOTA. If she wins , he must quit the game forever.

Game playing can sometimes affect the reality and relationship. Like the blog and other social media , information market tends to attract the attention of users, to spend the money and time on their products. Meanwhile, force drives the network to faster and faster , more and more sources of distraction are added to the market that is too powerful for individual to change. As the online love story: DoTA or girlfriend shows, some people are losing their real lives into the game world .  80% of readers illustrate that playing DOTA is a way to against lonely.  This kind of  team working game allows 5 players to play together and use different team strategies. When I  was playing this game at first, it attracted  me a lot for all the combinations , skills and the element of being social in virtual world. However, it is still a game . Sometimes, game is so attractive to people who has  time to kill , but it is essential to remember that  game is  just designed to entertainment, but the whole life is not just for entertaining.  Likewise when attention is  solely caught by this kind of media, passion of real life reduces, besides the ability of innovation.

Meanwhile , the essence of capitalist economy is to locate as many consumers as possible. In the information society , basic resource of profit is attention, same for the game market. It fosters a certain degree of addiction, as several games tend to create an alternative virtual reality for individuals. In China  , game addiction of people who is between age 17 to 30 is very severe that 64% gamers spend money on the free game platforms to purchase some tools to improve performance. Another shocking news is that a young couple even sells their children to pay for the online game addiction.

Media Piracy in China


In China,  it is very common for people to get digital resources without any charge through the Internet. By the process of downloading bit-torrenting, a large amount of media materials can be found , such as music, film and television dramas . Most of these are pirated, which severely damages the copyright issue and leaves the production company in a  low-profit status quo.

For the music industry, there is a transition for singers and bands in China . As one BBC report points out, the music piracy leaves the whole market in chaos. Agi is a singer who runs a band in London, the singer made about $2000 a month from music with her band Mika Bomb. But she can earn nearly double price  just in one commercial gig in China. Without the royalties, the illegal downloading of music and pirated CD makes the bands finding another way to survive in China.  Websites such as Baidu, offers a search engine for music downloading through website links, however, many resources are somewhat illegal. What makes the situation worse is that due to the less revenue earned by music production , the band has no sufficient fund to market themselves. They  have to join the large brands, such as Apple to use the  resource of big company to promote their self-images. It harms the diversity of music production, as the market is dominated by the decision of big media corporation, on the other hand, it is also hard for grassroot music composers to gain profit.  Unlike the concert in London, Agi says the music in China is just as tool to sell things, and  the basic  motivation is not for the enjoyment of music or  attraction for the genuine music fans.

The DVD pirates also run rampantly  in China that 50% of DVDs sold in China are unlicensed. The Legal viewing of foreign films is scant among the Chinese audiences. Combined with the illegally copied music , designer clothes and other goals, in China it  causes approximately $50 billion loss of potential sales a year.

Nonetheless, digital technology also liberates the information flow. It leaves the choices of accessing information on the hand of consumers , and breaks the blocks of media regulation in different places. For instance , in China , people can watch the different versions of films that are prohibited by the government. Another advantage is for the overseas film companies,  pirated DVD or digital recourse can also open a new market which it couldn’t reach.

And the piracy issue has also been emphasized by the Chinese government recently, as the paramount leader Hu Jintao says “to deal with piracy is the urgent need for enhancing country’s core competitiveness”.  Baidu and Youku, one is the largest search engine in China and another is the major uploaded video website (like YouTube), have deleted huge amount of pirated videos and musics. YouKu also operated a user-pay service for watching the recent released blockbusters. In addition,  several torrent-supply websites have been shut down. The battle continues and the problem needs more effort to deal with.

The Diao Yu island dispute between China and Japan

Recently, there is a high tension between the government of China and Japan toward the Island Dispute issue.  This chain of uninhabited islands, Called Diao Yu island in China and Senkaku island in Japan, has generated a long-standing conflict.

Meanwhile,  the Obama government showed its stand by including the DiaoYu island(or Senkaku island) into the mutual protection treaty of Japan and US which obliges the United States to come to Japan’s aid if attacked. However, the US government also manifests its neutral attitude toward the issue, that it won’t support any side of the dispute.

This incident  fostered a strong reaction in China. Several Anti-Japan demonstrations took place in major cities of China in the past few months, and  grew into a  riot scale.

The anti-Japan demonstration has a long history in China.  In 2005 the  prime minister Mr Koizumi to a shrine, which honors Japanese war criminals, triggered massive protests in China. Tensions flared again in 2010 when Japanese police arrested the captain of a Chinese fishing boat that collided with two Japanese coast guard vessels near the islands .   The situation is worse now , as the Japanese government try to buy the island from a private owner.  These actions are also supported by the mainstream media and government with several reports are written in an aggressive tongue.

The mainstream Chinese media coverage is about the tough action of Chinese military to send vessels to the spot declaring sovereignty , and the violent protests. Reports even become critical toward some extreme violent actions by the protestors. For instance, one man in his Japanese brand car was hit and destroyed by the angry demonstrators and he himself also suffered severe damage.   A branding expert commented on the incident that  these anti-Japanese protests leveled up due to the social media services in China, anti-Japanese activists have the ability to rally large numbers of Chinese consumers to ban the Japanese products. However, an interesting point can also be portrayed that by using the social media , the police also tracks down a man who did some extremely radical behaviours during the protest.

And also due to the media censorship in China, it is difficult to hear the voice of the other side of the story. There is few way for Chinese people to reach the information from outside through western media or Japanese media partly because of the language barrier . In the meantime, the mainstream media always reports in a conservative way that the editing sector should be very careful to some sensitive issues. Through the social media enhances the information flow, the major amount of news on the WeiBo are  lack of authenticity and credibility to leave the voice remain to be a  “white noise”.

Never Sorry : Ai Weiwei

“Out of the 40 cats, one knows how to open doors … Where did this intelligence come from? All the other cats watch us open the door. So I was thinking, if I never met this cat that can open doors, I wouldn’t know cats could open doors. ” One quote from the Artist Ai Weiwei.

As aforementioned in the post 2, Ai Weiwei is a prestigious artist and activist in China. He is actively using the social media to disseminate the information to the world, like Twitter, YouTube and Sina Weibo,etc. Through YouTube, he organized a workshop to tell the world what is happening in China, about his investigation in Sichuan Earthquake. The government imposed highly intention on him that the work is very hard to do in Sichuan after the Earthquake to have a detailed investigation about the name list of students who died.  It contains lots of benefits, for example, pension for the dead students . And also the Bureaucracy system makes it hard to do the work, as the police always listens to the superior class and makes “the little thing to be big and hard to tell.”

Just as the Jasmine Revolution in Africa and Middle East, “We use Facebook to schedule the protests, Twitter to coordinate, and YouTube to tell the world”. The role of social media improved the political activism and its influence. Grass root media helps the organization and dissemination of partial resistance and leads to the improvement of democracy.

There are also severe punishments for the online activism in China. As Ai was doing the investigation in Sichuan, he was caught by the police and even the state security Bureau to not leave the place he lived. And he even got punched when police broke in. Other methods like sending him to detention and taking away his passport. Combined with the  great fire wall, key word scan system and self-censorship make the online sphere not the best choice for the “freedom of speech” in China .