Friday, May 30, 2008

Men being Men

Other than the being married part this guy could be describing me.

I think that the true Retro-Sexual is the middle-aged, happily married guy who respects his wife but wants to punch the clowns spraying graffiti all over Causeway Bay

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Happily Retro Blogger

Climate Debate Rejects Science For Ideology

Once again Charles the Hammer pounds heads.

I like the term "Climate Change Agnostic"

Until Next Time
Fai mao
The blogger who is more of a Skeptic than Agnostic in this case

Sunday, May 25, 2008

One more time

The religion of peace strikes again.

This is just so typical of the Islamic mind set in many cases. (Notice I did not say all)

Until Next Time
Fai mao

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Toilets for Pedophiles

This has to be a candidate for best bit of bathroom humor I've seen. However, you see this kind of stuff all over China

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger with a dirty mind

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Twilight of the goddesses - The Ragnarok of Feminism

I like the ending of this article.

I find it amazing that so many on the political Left cannot see that their political agenda pushing the world towards totalitarianism.

The issue is Freedom

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who will be in Thailand Next week

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Flat Hunting

The ever lovely, looks twenty-five years younger than she is, really smart and pretty wife and I want to move. She is changing jobs and will be working in the far wilderness of Tai Po starting in July and I already work in City One. She finds Causeway bay to be "convenient" where I just find it, crowded and undesirable. However, it is now too far away from where either of us work to live there so we are looking for a new flat. Yesterday was the third round of flat hunting. How frustrating.

Housing in Hong Kong is way, way, way over priced. That fact doesn't seem to register with anybody in the government here though which probably has something to do with the property developer's cartel that actually runs the place. It also seems that the government is oblivious to the way that the high cost of housing reduces Hong Kong's competitiveness; but that is another post for another time.

We decided to look a little farther North than Kowloon and have been looking in the Tai Po, Tai Wu areas. It is frustrating because the concept of farther out is cheaper does not really seem to apply anymore.

So, yesterday was Shenzhen which has become a real possibility. I think that Shenzhen is also over priced but it is a matter of degree. The same flat in Tai Po market that cost 4.5 million will cost a measly 1 million in Shenzhen. Shenzhen has come a long way in 10 years. It is clean, has done a good job of reducing crime, has wide sidewalks, tree lined streets and a Wal-Mart grocery store. Believe me, Americans may hate Wal-Mart in the US but they'll love it in China. All in all, Shenzhen has a lot going for it. But I don't know if I want to live there.

The real issues are more complex

The disadvantages
1. The commute time would be greater and I don't like the train.
2. Traveling outside China would be problematic
3. The unpredictability of the PRC government is another issue.
4. The almost non-existent sense of building maintenance exhibited by the people in China.
5. Having to carry two different currencies
6. While an SAR like Hong Kong it is still far more like China than Hong Kong.

The advantages
1. Much more space
2.Much less expensive
3. Better grocery stores
4. Less crowded
5. The mainland tourist all go to Hong Kong or Macao
6. traveling in China would be easier
7. I could own a Chevrolet
8. THBT is not the CE of Shenzhen
9. Long Hair Leung doesn't live there

It is really a tough call. The flats are much nicer and larger and cheaper. The issue is that do the disadvantages of living there out way the cost.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who is house hunting

Friday, May 09, 2008

If dung can be art, does that mean art is dung?


There are some things that need to be said more often and this is one of them.
I guess I should really blame Marcel DuChamp for the, banality, offensiveness and ugliness that is too often the point of modern art. The late Francis Schaeffer said it well when he pointed out in one of his books that "Art ceases to be art when it is only understood by other artist." Art, in other words, is not as DuChamp said what the artist says it is but what the patron says it is.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who actually likes abstract paintings because he can do them himself

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A more thought out response

As I said in an earlier post I went to a conference on Saturday. The keynote speaker was Mark Treadwell who helped design the new national curriculum for New Zealand.

Without being unnecessarily rude may I say that I found Mark Treadwell to be one of those "Visionary Leaders" that the other keynote speaker Jamie McKenzie warned us about that we should avoid in another session on Friday. Which is a shame, he seems like a nice guy and on a certain level I really liked him. I leave open the possibility that I completely misunderstood him.

He is I believe both misreading and misinterpreting the concept of child centered education as developed by John Dewey, Maria Montessori, Horace Mann and others.

I think that if Mark Treadwell's ideas were followed then we would have a society that could not maintain the machines that were required to sustain the society that the machines had created. In that sense his ideas are the antithesis of progressive education

While I disagreed with him on many levels he made one point that was very true; humans are not necessarily logical beings. It is strange to me that he should believe that and then not see that technology will be neither our salvation nor our downfall. After all, how could a logical machine redeem an illogical animal?

His, at least implied assertion that written language is being replaced with verbal language is demonstratively false. If for no other reason than people can read faster than they can speak. Reading about something is a much more efficient way of gathering information for most people than speaking. Especially when written language removes the barriers associated with accent.

His graph about the growth of knowledge and the "New Paradigm" that supposedly emerged in 2002 was, I think misleading in that the amount of knowledge may increase faster as a whole but the slope of change remains the same and the plateaus are shorter You would expect that because humans have the same brain they had 100,000 years ago and can only learn so fast. Knowledge increases in part because there are more people. More than that, most of the new knowledge, especially that on the Internet is not really knowledge at all, but some combination of conjecture, misapplication and bigotry. Thus, it has no education value. Other areas of knowledge are applicable only to specialized fields. Most people do not need to know much more to live their lives today than they did 50 years ago. It does not matter how much more is known in global sense.

In his follow up session in the afternoon he had a chart that showed how he believed that character education had flowed from conformity (discipline by force) to self interest to a moral reasoning. While in one sense there is some truth in this in another way it showed an almost laughable lack of understanding of educational history. It can easily be shown that the primary purpose of education, since at least the time of Plato has been to instill moral virtue. The modern public education movement at least in the United States and Canada was in large part started in the 19th century as a way to increase literacy so that the illiterate working class could develop the skills needed to read the Bible and therefore improve their moral understanding and not to simply have their religion dictated to them. So, his chart was in some important ways backwards.

I would also challenge his assertion that we are entering an age where creativity is more important than the past. Was the caveman making a flint tip for his spear any less creative than someone today? Indeed, it appears to me that people in an agricultural or pre-industrial society had to be rather more creative than the accountant, banker or generic bean-counter professions that we have today. In the past you solved problems or you died; today if you are not good at solving problems you become a middle-manager, politician, fashion designer, entertainer or any of a host of other jobs where creativity is discouraged in favor of recycling old trends or following an existing, somewhat ridged set of directives.

I also found his characterization of the educational process to be skewed. While previous generations did emphasis more route learning and some cultures emphasized it more than others it simply isn't true children were not taught to think or be creative in the past. The entire cannon of literature and the complete body of arts and sciences testify against Mark Treadwell at this point.

I think that in the past, possibly because there was less to distract us, humans engaged more in what I call meditative learning. This is the act of simply pondering a problem as you walk or while sitting down. Just thinking about something. Now with the ubiquity of Internet access almost nobody thinks because we do not have to. Search Google and see what somebody else says. How is that creative? I believe and I believe it strongly that to improve education we may not need more technology but less. (Please note, I do not suffer from technophobia) As our curriculum has become more crowded it is this meditative aspect of education that has most suffered and it is in this aspect of education that libraries used to excel. It is also the aspect of learning that is most obviously absent in Hong Kong Schools. Do you want to see creative, thinking, mature, morally grounded students graduating from you school who can face the terrors of adulthood with the ability to gain and use the skills needed to meet the challenge of the future? Then maybe we don't need to speed up learning but to slow it down.

All of this means that, contrary to what Mark Treadwell appeared to say, I don't think that the way good teachers teach has or is going to change very much. Teachers may use different media for instruction, incorporate new technology into lesson plans, apply concepts to real life situation, make the educational process student centered, encourage thinking and creativity and try to mold character as well as academic skills; but, when have good teachers not done these things?

The more things change the more they stay the same; and that is many times a good thing.

After hearing Mark Treadwell twice on Friday I decided I'd rather not hear what he had to say on Saturday. I stayed home and went out to lunch with the really smart, good looking, looks twenty-five years younger than she is, hard working wife. We enjoyed our meal.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who styles himself as a part time philosopher of education

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Standing up to bullies

Interesting article.

In a strange way this another reason that I support the PRC position in Tibet. When the human rights crowd in the West will not let people tell the truth, or express unpopular opinions then they are no longer supporting human rights but a political agenda. When that agenda creates institutions or laws that allow thugs to use the law against people speaking the truth about the thugs then the pursuit of human rights has become something evil. Evil, politically correct Westerners have no right to tell the PRC what to do.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who rather see human freedom than human rights

The Rub

Went to a conference yesterday. I was supposed to go back today. I'm going to skip it though.

Both the keynote speakers committed a mortal sin as far as I am concerned by making overt political statements about topics that were not related to what they were speaking about. I don't like this from any point of the political continuum. I just feel it is unprofessional.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The blogger who thinks that only politicians should mix politics with their job