Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Can you spot a thief?

A couple of months ago one of my students wrote how she averted a robbery by thwarting a thief.
She was on a busy bus and she said she saw a "thief" coming towards a handsome young man who 
looked like a fellow with money in his wallet. She was too frightened to warn the young man for fear
the thief would wreak revenge on her. So, she thought fast, hurried next to him and threw her arms
around his neck declaring out loud how much she loved him then whispered in his ear that a thief
was approaching him with the intent to take his wallet. Her outburst had a profound affect on the
thief who left the bus at the next stop. The young man thanked her for her quick thinking, kindness
and bravery.

I have wondered a few times since reading her account how she was able to recognize a thief on
a public bus like that. I've looked around several times and have no idea what I'm looking at in this
Chinese sea of humanity.

We were warned at our training sessions in Provo, Utah to be aware of such things and alter our
schedules so that our walks to and from school were not so predictable.

Last night it happened.

John was walking home from school and as he stood waiting for the light to change at a huge, busy
intersection a muscular, ruddy-looking man in his mid-to-late 20's approached him and offered to 
hold his heavy computer for him. John said, "No thank you." Actually, this is not uncommon on the
university staircases where students often offer to help us carry our roller bags up the stairs. But, this 
wasn't a student. The fellow asked again. And again, John said a little louder, No Thank You."
A third time the fellow asked to carry the computer bag for John, and again, even louder John
said, "NO THANK YOU." At that point the light changed and John crossed the street while the
would-be thief quickly walked on ahead. You see, he planned to run into the traffic carrying
John's computer so John couldn't chase after him while pulling his roller bag. 

John mentioned this incident to his class this morning and all the students knew exactly what
that thief was up to. Apparently, this is not  uncommon around foreigners.

I kind of wish I had been there so I could see what a thief looks like around here.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Shan Zhai

Here is a view of social network developments in China.

     Many foreigners complain about not being able to use Facebook or Twitter in China, but few of them get to know the existence of a Chinese edition of Facebook which is called "RenRen".     Recently, RenRen released its new design of interface which looks exactly like Facebook.  Meanwhile the new interface is as rubbish as the interface of Facebook too.     Many of my friends and I hold quite mixed feelings about it. We doubt if RenRen is stealing Facebook's idea, which is obvious, will be punished, if we look into the case where Samsung and Apple point at each other's noses for plagiarism. On the one hand, Apple charges Samsung for applying iPhone-like outfits to new Samsung products, on the other hand, Samsung accuses Apple of stealing their innovative design of the 'draw down list.  Things like this will never see an end simply beaus it is hard to legally judge this kind of plagiarism.  Chinese manufacturers are taking advantages of this dilemma too, they worry little about the possible punishment for copying products of famous brands.  A new word "Shan Zhai" was even created to describe this phenomenon, which means "to copy and improve."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dynamic Lifting

Xiu Chen came to both of John's resume workshop-lectures and sent this feedback email to us.
These students work so incredibly hard and appreciate any help and they're getting great help from John. 
The progress they make once they see the possibilities for improvement is absolutely amazing.

I cannot express my gratitude to Dr. John Kuzmich and his lovely wife too much.
Without his careful and constructive suggestions, my resume couldn’t come into shape
in such as short time. I’d like to list the major bonus I have gained from the lectures, as well as
my suggestions and expectations for the further lectures.
What I have benefited from the lectures:
     >The perfect resume format. I’ve tried several CV formats before, but this one is  
   definitely the best one with neat layout and large information
     >Helpful guidance and advise on word size, type face, the sequence of Education
   and Experience. Moreover, the action verbs are powerful to enrich the resume.
     >Transformation of mind from showing “I’m an excellent person” to manifesting
              “what exactly I can do for you”
What I expect to learn from the following lectures (if possible):
     >More suggestions on the interviewing part.
     >Specific guidance on Personal Statement writing for students planning to further
             their study abroad.
It will be deeply appreciated if more help can be provided. Thank you very much.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Even More Frightening Experience

This one is unbelievable. I can't understand how this student survived!

        "I hate hospitals. Yes. I hate hospital. Although hospitals call themselves saviors, I was scared to death during my tonsillectomy surgery in an infamous hospital in my hometown.
        "The surgery, which should not have been a big one, became my darkest nightmare.  The only problem was the anesthesia simply would not work on me.  So the 20 minute surgery turned out to be a live taxidermy for me.  Although my face was covered by a white sheet, I still could see through the hole on it while the surgeons busily cultivated on me.  Various kinds of unnamed tools came and went, leaving me choking by my own blood.  At that time, I felt like a cat in a bag, waiting to drown, because I feared that any move would result in the sharp blade cutting through my throat.  An item on the consent paper kept on occurring to me, that "although it is very unlikely, it is not impossible that the patient dies during the process." ---- and I thought they were referring to me.
        "In a state wet all over I finally went though the surgery, spitting blood continually for an entire week.  My body could not stop shivering whenever I thought of the surgery again.  Ew....."

Frightening Experience

      For a journal entry prompt during the week of Halloween I asked my students to write about the most frightening experience
they had encountered thus far. I have been shocked to read about so many kidnappings, attempted kidnappings and home 
invasions. These kids have seen a lot of things I've only seen in headlines.
But there was one entry that really caught me by surprise. I'll let 'William' tell you his most frightening experience:    
      Encountering a ghost is very frightening, but for Chinese students, there's something much much more frightening....failing the
University Entrance Examination!
      "Try your best to get good grades," said our teachers, "As long as you still breathe, study!"  Preparing for the exam is worrying, but
waiting for the result is even more stressful. You apply for a university according to your grades, and then wait. It's a gamble - you
have to take a chance.
       This is what I have experienced.
       One day after the exam, I got back home, and my father urged me to phone the Education Bureau. Being nervous and unwilling,
I went to the phone an dialed the number which I had already dialed so many times and thus bore in mind. The girl on the other end
asked me to input my student number. I did as she said, and then waited, holding my breath.
       About ten seconds later, she answered, "Sorry, we cannot find your material or you are not admitted my any university."
        I didn't hear what she said next. My heart beat very fast and my head was aching. There were noises in my ears and I couldn't
see anything clearly. Holding the phone silently, I looked at my parents helpless.
       Mother saw my expression and then began to weep. Father sighed and cursed me as "an idiot" and "a psycho" complaining
that I had broken their hearts.
       I was so frustrated, but I couldn't believe it. I couldn't figure out why "God hast forsaken me" since I had tried my best.
With tears running out, I dialed the number again. When I started to input my student number the second time, I remembered
I hadn't put a "#" before it. I did it correctly this time, and then I got another answer, "Shandong University. Congratulations!"
       With a calm voice, I said, "I'm admitted."
       They stopped complaining immediately and began to praise me as "excellent boy" and "You've glorified our ancestors," said my
father. Now I cannot help imagining  what if I had not been admitted. Such are Chinese parents! If you didn't get a good grade,
you were not their child!  The most frightening experience is cause by the most frightening people, and Chinese parents
are the most frightening ones in the world!

Friday, November 9, 2012

So that's how it goes....

    Last week I gave a Journal prompt based on an old German proverb: "When a dove begins to associate with crows, its feather remain white but its heart grows black."
    Most students related this to developing good friendship and surrounding oneself in a healthy environment. I was surprised to read one that sort of answered a question I had in the back of by mind.
The student wrote:

    This sentence reminds me of corruption. In China, civil servants equal officers. When people beome civil servants, they begin to associate with "crows," the officers with higher positions. Even some civil servants who graduate from universities,their heart grow black soon. People would like to give money or gifts to them in order to handle affairs easily. It's amazing to know that not only do civil servants have corruption but also doctors and teachers.    More family members of patients give money to doctors just in case the doctor does an operation casually or have some extra but not necessary examinations for the purpose of earning more. If the doctor doesn't want to receive the money, the family members will become much more anxious wondering about if this money is not enough?  When it comes to schools, we can see that more parents give money to teachers so that their children will get more attention.