Macau 2011: Legend of the Dragon Boat Races

Dragon Boat Drummer
An Intense Drummer

Where the Dragons Sleep
Dragons are often thought of as mystical creatures which guard castles and evildoers in western fables, but this is a far cry from the historical presence of dragons in Chinese folklore. Here, dragons are powerful and auspicious (lucky) creatures which have command over sources of water. They are the symbol of countless emperors and appear on dynastic flags throughout thousands of years of history. In modern times, the Chinese people more frequently consider themselves the descendants of dragons, which is a tribute to their appreciation of the mythical creature. And if you can imagine these descendants riding on the back of long, scaled, immortal creatures barreling through the rivers and open seas, then you are ready to be a spectator of one of China’s oldest traditional festivals: “Dragon Boat Festival ” or Duānwǔ Jié [端午节]. Continue reading Macau 2011: Legend of the Dragon Boat Races

The China Guan: Shanghai

The China Guan

“The China Guan” is my way of calling this amazing 2010 World Expo pavilion that still receives thousands of visitors per day in Shanghai. The building is a tribute to traditional Chinese architecture dating back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC-467 BC). From this artist’s rendition you can see the “interlocking wooden brackets” which are the most important element of this kind of traditional structure. Although I hadn’t made the effort to visit the Expo in 2010, I felt it was important to see this pavilion before it gets torn down… or perhaps it will be the only building left standing in this expensive downtown location.

The China Guan really impressed me not only because of its unique outer covering, but mostly because of the video exhibit that you are shown in the first hall. After taking an elevator up one of the legs of this massive building you are led into a dome-like video area. The room is packed with people eager to get a dose of modern Chinese culture. The lights dim to black and the show starts. Continue reading The China Guan: Shanghai

To MBA or not to MBA, there is no question.

My Chinese friend had a notice under her username recently on MSN. It said “Master isn’t equal to smart~Give me a break!” It’s obviously a complaint she’s making to her coworkers with whom she doesn’t get along. Did her point come across? It caused me to think about the very concept of an MBA…

Maybe I have mentioned a certain colleague while here in China, I’ll just call her AC. This woman is a native of Beijing and is proud of that. She is in her late 30s and still single, which isn’t so acceptable for women of her generation. She has TWO (2, 两个) MBAs from two of the most intellectually strong contries of the world: The United States and Germany.

I have been known to express some anger towards this woman; haven’t we all had someone we can only see eye-to-toe with? Without passing too much judgement, i’ll just say that the ears you see on her head don’t really have a use. The English you hear coming out of the mouth doesn’t sound like the level of an MBA, let alone a double-MBA. The decisions coming out of the brain seem to be lacking direction, purpose, colleague support, and a certain level of organization one would expect from at least a bachelor degree holder in the West.

I know that all comes out as a kind of “judgement.” I’m not saying that she is an evil person, although we’ve had some very personal and threatening confrontations. What I AM saying, is that there is “no proof” in that woman’s “MBA-pudding.” (If you’re picking up what i’m putting down…) Sadly, it seems that an MBA is just a piece of paper, which costs a lot of green paper.

When considering the loans I took out for my B.S. in B.A., it almost sickens me to think of how much in loans I am now responsible for. It’s ok because a Bachelor’s degree is expected of a common American. I can afford this in order to stay basically competative. However, I’m not faced with the pressure to get an MBA. Somehow we (in American society) feel so impressed by the MBA that we’ll borrow, on average, over $100,000 just to finance it!We expect to have an amazingly high paying job afterwards with this great, new, more expensive piece of paper. The REAL gain, i am told, is the networking/marketing you get from the experience… ah ha!

Well, I’m in China. I can use the language to communicate with quite wealthy, non-english speakers here. Starting a company here would cost much less and the economy is only going to grow and grow… Why not loan just $10,000 and start working on something really amazing out here? I find the life more interesting than back in the US, the food is more appetizing and healthy, and the women really treat my eyes well 🙂

It’s not everyone’s solution; it’s just my personal solution and that is really what’s important for us all. We each have a “best solution” which could quite possibly rest on the shoulders of an MBA education. Ask yourself, graduates of the recent class, should you run out and get an MBA? I know, at least for me right now, there is no question. What’s best for you?

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