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加藤嘉一:中国,我误解你了吗? Is U.S. More Inclusive than China?

3 Sep

加藤是我的同龄人。很惭愧,刚刚读到他的《中国,我误解你了么》。跨文化是一件很有趣的事情,真的让你从不同的角度去解读文化。

加藤对中国大学生状态的描写太传神了。和我亲身经历的大学几乎一模一样。我很爱我的大学。但是大学四年最美好的回忆是和同侪一起迷茫的岁月。但是对于教授,印象一般。本科时候,上课几乎就像去超市选购。学校重视科研,教授们热衷于拿基金,做项目,挂在嘴上的一句话是,博士生才能出成果,给本科生授课是由于学院有指标。很多老师直接说,现在课时短,不可能把东西讲透,所以就是一带而过吧。对学生来说,更多的是毕业的去向,就业,出国还是考研。不管对老师还是学生,大学更像一个checklist。当然我是个commoner,还是很多优秀的学者和学生的。

加藤说,中国的大学也就相当于日本的高中,因为学生们也只是学,没有锻炼社会能力。现在我也做了妈妈,也会考虑教育的问题。这两种模式究竟孰是孰非,我目前无法做出判断。我希望我小孩得到最适合他的。

另外他所讲的中国人的“对内”和“对外”的区别,龙应台也写过类似。中国人是熟人社会,很看重“自己人”,但是一些common courtesy就不一定了。西方社会往往相反,大家很重视manner,但是很难接纳你为自己人。比如在中国,在公共场合遇到一些横冲直撞的中年妇女,在得知你和她女儿是同学之后,会忽然和颜悦色。对美国人来说,他们会表现的彬彬有礼,但是很难和你真正亲近,他们只是想表现自己的素质。骨子里说来,其实中国文化更包容。中国人对待外来事物的想法是:可能对方的方法和我不一样。美国人对待外来事物的想法是:我们的方式是正确的方式。未来会不会转变,我拭目以待。

关于女性。加藤提到中国女性的强势。这个话题很有趣。美国的女性解放是在上世纪60年代开始的,是grass root,是循序渐进的。女性们为自己争取权利,更多女性出来社会工作。而中国,据我所知,变化几乎是一夜之间的,伟人的一句“女人能顶半边天”改变了无数女性的命运,半边天就顶起来了。我小时候所受的教育就是女性和男性是平等的。当然后话是成家有小孩之后才忽然理解很多家庭主妇的选择。女性在家庭生活中的贡献,以及由此带来的和工作平衡的问题,并非社会体制一天半天能解决的问题。天是顶起来了,地下可能一片泥泞。各家有各家的解决办法。

加藤的存在就是中国社会包容的最重要体现。中国人可以礼遇以及倾听一个出生于外国的中国观察/批评家。美国人也是…..他们也喜欢中国观察/批评家。他们喜欢人家说美国是the land of dreams.

移民妈妈 I am an immigrant and a mother

2 Sep

最近读龙应台的《目送》,有她的小孩写的序。里面写道,我妈妈懂文学,懂历史,懂国际,但是在这个德国小镇,她是个移民妈妈,她作为移民妈妈,有些规矩她就是不懂。

这也是每个一代移民妈妈面对的难题,她们要在一个和自己成长环境不同的社会来教养自己的小孩。她们纵使受过良好教育,到底也是foreigner,真的,她们不可能都懂。

我自己两个小孩5岁半,和快4岁。会纠正我twelve和mouth的发音。我也在思考,该如何小孩面对父母是一代移民的事实,能够不要因为不同feel less about。宝贝,相信妈咪,你们拥有的是更大的世界。

No More Superwoman BS-Conservation of Mass Tells so

20 May

It seems we are making progress on women’s right since the 60s. Women got the right to work! Isn’t that exciting? But wait, let’s take a closer look-no, women are not just working outside their homes, most of them are still expected to take care of their household and kids AT THE SAME TIME!

And the mainstream media is not getting this right either. They are promoting this idea of “super woman”. Look, this successful woman CEO also raised 3 kids! she is “having it all”! Regular women like me, looking at their not that glamorous work, looking at their not so clean house, looking at their not so cared for children, and looking at their exhausted self, feel like a big loser- I am “losing it all”!

I bet as a mom, you thrived to be a superwoman yourself too, because it’s so inspiring and others have done it.

I am telling you, this is BS! and this is why:

You must’ve heard the great law of Conservation of mass. It states that (in a closed system), the quantity of mass is conserved over time. It’s the fundamental rule governing our universe. Mass can’t be created or destroyed- its simply constant; so is your energy! So if you are staying with me, imagine your energy like a PI chart- spending more energy in one part will result in less energy in another part. As simple as that. I know things like exercise may increase your energy a bit in a short term. But let’s face it…You know yourself, at this point, your energy level..is pretty much constant. Stop dreaming about being a superwoman. The universe said you can’t. Just simply make choices which area you want to spend more energy.

Then you are wondering, how did those women get it done? they do seem like superwomen. Ok, this is why. The amount of things one can get done=energy*resource* time. Those women may have slightly more energy than you; but the reason why they made it is probably the extra resource they have, either family help or hired help; also time plays a big factor as well, don’t attempt to get everything done at the same time.

I hope we are clear, society. No more superwoman BS. The law of conservation of mass told us that’s not possible. We believe in science. Don’t we?

Interview for Manager Position

19 May

I had an interview last week for a manager position. It suddenly occurred to me that I should share how I prepared for the interview partially for myself and partially for others if they are in the same position.

Above was the chart I created to prepare for the interview. The first 2 blocks are the analysis and match between the “supply-Me” and “demand-manager”. It’s quite straight forward. First, list your education and experience and go through your roles and responsibilities. Show concrete examples which could demonstrate your strengths. To name a few, problem solving, taking initiative, leadership, and conflict resolution. Secondly, do your research, list the most desirable qualifications for the manager position (can be simply read the job description a couple of times). Then you have to make sure all three pieces are connected: for each qualification, you can provide an example that you demonstrated the strength.

Next, you are sure to be asked “what’s your vision” for this position. I proposed a three level approach: vision for the organization, vision for the group and vision for team members. You are well covered!

Then read your interview schedule, try to imagine the conversation with your panel and the interaction between this manager role and their functions. Highly likely they will care about one of your strength than another, but again, you prepared those in the first block.

At last ( Thanks youtube) just search “manager interview” in youtube and try to answer some of the questions that specifically designed for managers. For example: what is your principle of managing? what’s managing style? How do you make hiring decisions? How do you handle low team morale?

Hope this is helpful for you and good luck to me!

My Secret Cooking Rule and 6 min Sweet and Sour Pork Recipe

4 May

I know I know women and men are supposed to split 50:50 for the housework…blablabla…well, I am a mom who would love to cook for my kids while balancing everything else going on with my life. It was SUCH a struggle..(it still is). But after being a mom for 5 years, I finally come up with a rule that helps me somewhat more on the end of “balancing”. I call it 1:1:1. That’s how I handle my family’s meals: 1/3 of time I cook; 1/3 of the time I order take out; 1/3 of the time I served half pre-pared food from grocery stores. This has been proven to me to be the most sustainable- sorry you are not looking at an overachiever here.

In the 1/3 of time that I do cook, I take the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time, I try to cook simply yet nutritionally balanced meal; while 20% of the time, I cook a “cuisine”-not really, but you get what I am saying. So I will publish a series of “weekday dinner” ideas here. Hey, there is nothing wrong cooking simply. Remember the success of apple?- Simplicity is the key. As a mom, I am sure you need plenty of time doing other important things. Lets tackle cooking-the simple way!

6 min Sweet and Sour Pork

Ingredients:

(thin cut) pork loin; All purpose flour; Cooking oil; ketch up; Sugar; Vinegar

Step 1: take the pork out , (start boiling your cooking oil )
Step 2: Cut pork loin into squares
Step 3: dip your pork into a bowl of flour
Step 4: fry the floured pork till no pink is seen
Step 5: Transfer the pork to another pan, add (mainly) ketchup, sugar and vinegar to taste
Step 6: Stir and go! Here is your sweet and sour pork

Shopping at Hmart

22 Apr

It seems a bit luxurious that one can still go grocery shopping and enjoy the extreme abundance of goods in COVID-19. I am Asian and I live in greater DC area, which offers so many options when it comes to Asian grocery stores. There are Hmart, LOTTO, Great wall, New york mart and 99 Ranch! I seriously have to take a moment to decide which one I want to go this time. Today I went to H mart.

I am a Capricorn. If you know Capricorns, you understand what I am about to say- if I don’t make an effort to try to explore new things, I will happily stuck to the same things over and over again. So I set up a goal for myself- every time I go grocery shopping, I will try something new. So here you go: I bought those Korean Fish Sausages for my kids to try for the first time; I am trying Jin Noodle instead of the go-to Shin Noodle; I bought some cute containers from Korean. Also in the picture I shared the frozen Udon noodle I always keep a stock at home, those are great for stir fried noodles.

Grocery shopping is one of the main skills as a mom and whomever in my opinion. We strive a fun and balanced life- Mastering grocery shopping is one important step. I am still learning and I want to teach my kids all those great skills I learned. Let’s face it, I am no Bill Gates or Sheryl Sandburg. But people like me can enjoy life as much as they do and I want my kids to be those people. That’s the least I can teach them. I will share all my learnings with my kids and YOU. See you next time!