Archive for April, 2009

Direct Your Attention

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Direct you attention to the post I did at my other little space on blogspot. I have no idea why I still keep that guy up, but I feel that throwing the post here is a terrible distraction to the goal of the space which is to keep thinking about all things Chinese. While the post deals some with my passion for the subject, it is more like a footnote. Still worthwhile so give it a look-see. Finals is going crazy by the way. I need to definitely get rolling on this whole webspace thing. Serena Epstein’s successful career as a student and member of the supergroup DTLT makes me want to train even harder. But maybe I am lacking too much in the creativity department? Bah to the rules! Keep walking forward.

Check, check, check it:

http://bahktinjali.blogspot.com/

Getting Your Feet Wet!

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

While some Mary Washington students were busy waiting in line for a hot air balloon ride on Ball Circle, a group of students trickled into an empty room in the history building, Monroe. Egg rolls, sodas, and Chinese candies waited for these students on a long table in the front of the classroom by a blank sign-in sheet. On April 16, 2009, Thurday, I held a, I think successful, presentation on the Chinese language. My aim was to introduce students to Chinese with an aim at dispelling the myths about this complicated language. Let me ask you this, when someone tells you, “Hey, I am taking Chinese,” isn’t your first reaction “Wow, that’s really impressive?” or “Man, that sounds super difficult!” I stood at the classroom, stoked to see so many students. I had been worried that people wouldn’t bother to show up. Up in the classroom, I joked with the students to get everyone feeling comfortable. A nice icebreaker: some hilarious videos to warm up the crowd. I started with a Taiwanese band, SHE, and their song Zhong Guo Hua (中国话)which talks about how everyone in the world is learning Chinese. Granted that is a bit of an exaggeration, but it is catchy as all get out!

From there I added one other video in. Asian History professor Susan Fernseber used this video the very first day of her Asian Civ 1 course (HIST 141). The video, shown below, while we laugh at the way the Onion does a satire on the way Westerners view the sort of East mythos, can we be so sure that we ourselves don’t do exactly that? My peers laughed at the broad conclusions the newscasters came to, yet when posed with this question, they agreed. We do not understand China nearly well enough.

From there I went on to outline what really makes Chinese difficult, yet always being sure to highlight the necessity of the language, which I hope if you are reading this you agree with me that it is in fact important. China is the up and coming star (ironic pun yes) that we need to be able to work closely with. Americans can no longer be content with knowing how to order chinese food. Right now (现在)is the time to get a handle on the language. I started with “We as college students need to be thinking of ways to work with China. We need that language.” Over the past week, I have been fairly obsessed with using Prezi. It makes for a highly interactive presentation. Check out my Chinese Presentation if you get a second or two.

http://prezi.com/31165/

I really felt that this was a successful presentation. I got 26 people to come and learn some basic phrases such as, “你好,你叫什么名字?“ We also sang a farmer’s song called Sesame Oil, thanks to Prof. Fernsebner’s suggestion. The song has an interesting place in history in and of itself, which could only be done justice with a different post rather than an aside. At the end of the talk, many of the Chinese 102 students came in and talked about their personal goals and individual pursuits, and how these relate to their study of the language. I felt proud of my classmates (同学). Hopefully as the years go by the UMW Chinese program will flourish to brilliancy. But it takes students making sacrifices and pouring their energies out to create such a program. Faculty and Chairs of departments can only do so much. The student’s voice is a quiet rumble in the distance, calling for a thunderstorm’s approach.

One More Thing!

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

The title reminds me of a cartoon starring Jackie Chan as a voice actor playing of course himself. His father, in the show, would always hit on the head with two fingers saying in a old, strained voice “one more thing!” While I am sure me being young made the show great, it still sticks in my mind. Speaking of old things, before starting my adventure on this sleek new space, I used to hang out on blogspot.com, which by used I mean as of last week. I posted quite a bit on some of the projects that I am working on this semester, as well as the readings I would work on for classes. The posts make for a pretty interesting read if you have some spare time. I would like to include a section in here for some more generalized posts. We’ll see how that rolls later. But for now, my first blog should not be forgotten and desires a least a brief mention. So again, give it a look over, I promise it won’t make you want to gouge your eyes out too badly!

http://bahktinjali.blogspot.com/

A Mission Statement

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

As a student very unfamiliar with the range of technologies available to both gather and disperse information. I am trying out the umwblogs to gain a fuller understanding of what is out there for me to use. The whole goal of course is to learn how to manipulate the new and ever expanding resources, then eventually move off onto my own space with a new, well-honed set of skills. To begin, thank you for being the guinea pigs of this experiment!

Any good endeavor requires a sense of purpose, a mission statement. It’s like the champagne bottle one would break on the hull of a new ship to christen its future voyages abroad. Without a purpose or creative goals, the space, while it starts out with tons of life and vivacity, just sort of fizzles before too long. So, all that being said, I am here to gather online resources for studying Chinese language, monitor and display my own progress with the language, try to find quirky things about China to share, such as videos, songs whatever. But also, as a Mary Washington student double-majoring in History and Anthropology, I would like to share the types of research that I conduct, which Lord willing will have a solid anchor in China. The Mission is broad, but its overarching purpose is to relate information about China in new ways. We are moving past the day and age of just reading about things in textbooks, hearing about the world in lectures. As students or even just people desiring to expand their horizons, we must tap into new resources to get to the heart of a global perspective. So, we will be learning together. Although the blog may not be updated all the time, expect some interesting things here and there as I explore the new world being crafted; by whom? It is an awfully complicated answer, or maybe it isn’t (I haven’t figured that out yet : P) So, let’s sally forth!

test video

Friday, April 10th, 2009