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August, 29, 2016

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Commentary > China Post > Daniel J. Bauer
Back in 1711, satirist Alexander Pope wrote only half-humorously in his Essay on Criticism that "Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread."
 
In some ways the flap about former Korean Air executive vice-president Cho Hyun-ah and an on-board snack seems too trivial for media attention. After all, I am quite sure that every flight attendant in the world could tell story after story about hard-to-please customers and silly antics on airplanes.
 
I once heard of a scenario in which an American professor at a foreign university asked his students to compose a list of at least 15 problems their country faced. I was shocked. The homework might as well have been: "Make a long list of things that are wrong with your country."
 
I do not know if other cultures are as obsessed with surveys as ours seems to be, but I do know most surveys I read of affect me very little. For a survey to touch me, it's got to practically hit me in the forehead.
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Here I sit, 12 hours to go before the 9-in-1 Elections 2014. If I make print as I hope, you are reading these words with, as the newscasters say, "the results now all in." On the eve of the election, I am weighing the situation, trying to be brave as I share a few impressions about what has happened here these recent days.
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I promised to soon return to last week's topic of student reactions to a certain type of examination. I've decided that "soon" means today.
 
As I prepare a mid-term examination these days for students in a survey course in American Literature, I am quite conscious of a doubt that's been nagging at me the past three or four years.
 
My Facebook screen recently brought a photo from California that put a smile on my chops. It showed a little boy, perhaps seven or eight years old, the son of a treasured former student. He was all fixed up in his Halloween costume. I so concluded because "Trick or Treat" appeared above the picture.
 
With a ban on religious instruction, which today affects families with children in more than 2,000 schools in Xinjiang, China deserves more public attention, I fear, than it is getting. Reasons easily come to mind to explain why international (and local) media are not rushing to cover the story. A brief word first, however, on the news itself.
 
I just looked up "aggressive" in a fat dictionary which promises in a blurb on its cover to help writers to improve their efforts (hmm). The scholars there split their definition into two parts.
 
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