On Jan. 1, all sorts of stuff collided in an odd exchange involving President Ma Ying-jeou and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je at a flag-raising ceremony to mark the start of 2015. Am I the only one hoping this goof-up was not an omen of things to come? Am I the only one who even remembers the story?
I have never written an obituary, and do not plan to try to write one here. In my view, an “obit” is mostly about the past. It speaks of someone's life now having come to an end. An obituary reviews a few milestones of that person's story, and tells us in an apparently objective way why we might want to remember her or him.
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.
2014/12/7, 1 Comment
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.
2014/11/30, 1 Comment
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.