Friday, May 16, 2008

Sitting in the Jade Palace Hotel

Jiujiu, the finance manager in the five-star Jade Palace Hotel, used the phrase "pai ma pi" (拍马屁 -- I think) today, which basically means to "suck up."

"With you here, they'll get a chance to pai ma pi to me," Jiujiu said in the car. "I haven't really given them that opportunity yet."

When I asked what that meant, he gave me another phrase, and when I asked what that meant, he rattled off something new, eventually telling me to ask my mom.

The rooms here -- 410 in all -- go for a range of 700 RMB per night to 1,288, if you reserve early. During the Olympics Jiujiu expects that price to go up to 2,688-3,288 RMB. Of course, this doesn't include the 16-room Presidential Suite, which right now goes for about 38,000 RMB (about $5,500).

The above is an example of the sort of writing no one cares about -- I imagine the pictures are more interesting. When I started this blog three weeks ago I had that style in mind: personal, small and insignificant. Along the way, however, I've come to realize how irresponsible it is to broadcast the minutia of everyday life, especially in the face of a world that totters about under the weight of colossal issues such as natural disasters and global warming, seeming like a toddler needing guidance and direction from people like us, journalists, scholars, writers and the like. A personal blog is a dereliction of duty, especially from a journalist. It borders on narcissistic, even though I have no vested interest in my own life outside of living it.

But it is easier, keeping this in journal-form. And I did make a declaration way back when... maybe that'll be my excuse until further notice. Maybe I switch styles after my family's all been introduced, in June or so. There's time yet.

For the moment, you'll have to settle for this commixing of the pedestrian with the grave, a style that'll win me even fewer followers, I believe, but so be it.
  • China Daily: 50,000. (Myanmar cyclone: 43,318.)

  • From the same paper: you just don't see English-language newspaper stories written like this anymore.

  • Simon Winchester in the NY Times: China, innovation and what the hell happened?

  • Pictures from Sichuan: Daily Kos, EastWestSouthNorth, Black and White Cat (incredible).

  • Videos from Shanghaiist.

  • A little dated, but this NY Times column from Thomas Friedman is spot on and worth sharing. Excerpt:

    Our president’s latest energy initiative was to go to Saudi Arabia and beg King Abdullah to give us a little relief on gasoline prices. I guess there was some justice in that. When you, the president, after 9/11, tell the country to go shopping instead of buckling down to break our addiction to oil, it ends with you, the president, shopping the world for discount gasoline.

    We are not as powerful as we used to be because over the past three decades, the Asian values of our parents’ generation — work hard, study, save, invest, live within your means — have given way to subprime values: “You can have the American dream — a house — with no money down and no payments for two years.”

Hopefully you caught the phrase "Asian values." I think that's a fitting usage there.


Lee said...

I guess that means my father is Asian. This explains so much about my childhood.

Nice work on the blog, Anthony. Please feel free to remain quotidian.

The Jamboree said...

Thank you! When I first read Friedman's piece in the Times, the line about Asian values jumped off the screen - mostly because I'm the one with Asian values, not my parents. What a joke.

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