Quarterly update, hippo edition

Photo: RayMorris1. Flickr/Creative Commons.
Photo: RayMorris1. Flickr/Creative Commons.

Language Wars
An op-ed I wrote about China, Taiwan, and the politics of Chinese language learning has been published on Hippo Reads, a new media site that brings academic insights to a broader audience. If you’re interested in submitting, they have more information on their website.

Mellon Mays
Since my return from Oslo I’ve resumed my post as the lead graduate mentor for the Mellon  Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program at UCLA. This is my eighth quarter working with the program.

Last summer, I developed the syllabus for the academic professionalization course that is at the core of the program. Now, I get to teach the workshops that I designed. The juniors are learning about the structure of academic careers, while the seniors are working on elevator pitches about their thesis projects. Next quarter, we’re preparing both cohorts to present their research at UCLA’s Undergraduate Research Week.

Public radio appearance
I was interviewed for a story about the intergenerational transmission and maintenance of lunar new year traditions on KPCC. In less academic terms, that means that I was on the radio talking about red underwear.


Tan Kah Kee and overseas Chinese investment

In my post for Asian-Nation about Mainland and Taiwan influence in overseas Chinese schools, I wrote about a passage from my Chinese school days that was clearly Nationalist propaganda. Recently, I’ve found a passage from a Mainland textbook that is propaganda from the other side.

This quotation is from book 11 of 12 of the Zhongwen (中文) series, published by Jinan University and commissioned by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council (國務院僑務辦公室). The series is aimed specifically at Overseas Chinese in extracurricular language programs.

The chapter is about overseas Chinese business person Tan Kah Kee (陳嘉庚). Tan was born in Qing-era Fujian province and became rich in colonial Singapore. He returned to the People’s Republic of China to use his riches in the service of the homeland.

1949年10月1日,陈嘉庚应邀登上了天安门城楼,参加开国大典,亲眼看到了五星红旗在雄壮的国歌声中庄严升起,深深感到作为一个中国人十分自豪,同时也感到责任重大。中华人民共和国成立以后,他先后担任中央人民政府委员、华侨事务委员会委员、全国侨联主席、全国政协副主席,以极大的热情投身于新中国的建设事业。(p. 32)

On October 1, 1949, Tan Kah Kee was invited up to the Tiananmen tower for the ceremony marking the foundation of the People’s Republic of China. With his own eyes, he saw the five-starred red flag rise solemnly as the majestic national anthem played. He felt deeply the pride of being a Chinese person; at the same time, he felt a great sense of duty. After the PRC was founded, he held one office after another: member of the Central People’s Government, Chairman of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, Chairman of the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, and Vice-Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. He threw himself fervently into the project of creating a new China.

The unmistakable message here is that overseas Chinese students should return to and invest in the homeland, as Tan had done.

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