Shades of Ray Bradbury:
Like every Chinese child, Li Hanwei spent her schooldays memorising thousands of the intricate characters that make up the Chinese writing system.
Yet aged just 21 and now a university student in Hong Kong, Li already finds that when she picks up a pen to write, the characters for words as simple as “embarrassed” have slipped from her mind. “I can remember the shape, but I can’t remember the strokes that you need to write it,” she says. “It’s a bit of a problem.”
Surveys indicate the phenomenon, dubbed “character amnesia”, is widespread across China, causing young Chinese to fear for the future of their ancient writing system.
Young Japanese people also report the problem, which is caused by the constant use of computers and mobile phones with alphabet-based input systems. There is even a Chinese word for it: “tibiwangzi”, or “take pen, forget character”. A poll commissioned by the China Youth Daily in April found that 83 percent of the 2,072 respondents admitted having problems writing characters. …
“The idea that China is a country full of people who write beautiful, fluid literature in characters without a second thought is a romantic fantasy,” wrote the blogger and translator C. Custer on his Chinageeks blog. “Given the social and financial pressures that exist for most people in China… (and) given that nearly everyone has a cellphone, it really isn’t a problem at all.”
Still, both Li Hanwei and Zeng Ming have become so concerned about character amnesia that they keep handwritten diaries partly to ensure they don?t forget how to write.
There’s a whole “Fahrenheit 451”-type novel in a nutshell. The populace becomes dependent on a technology to perform a basic communication function; that technology is somehow taken away; only a remnant, who used an archaic form of the technology not dependent on high tech, is able to communicate anymore. I love the image of these young people laboriously but lovingly writing their personal diaries as a way to preserve culture.
Pretty good, succinct essay on what an artistic convention is, and how conventions work in literature
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Doing online traffic school today after getting nabbed six months ago on the S-curve on the Bay Bridge.
Here’s my favorite graphic of the course. So far.
I’m in Vermillion, South Dakota, home to the University of S.D. There’s about a foot of snow on the ground, a brisk wind, and it’s about 30 degrees. The sun should set in about an hour, but the overcast is so thick I’ll never see it.
I drove north through Nebraska to get here, through rolling farm country. The snow got deeper the farther north I drove, first along US 30 and then US 81, and the last 30 miles before the South Dakota border there was snow blowing across the road. But none falling. I crossed the border at Yankton, where I took a few pictures, then headed 20 miles down the road to Vermillion, where I found a small, nice, used bookstore downtown. Then I found the university campus and drove past it and took a few more pictures. Now I’m in a McDonald’s across the street.
There are zero pedestrians braving the cold wind.
I really like the picture of the highway, which I took from a State of Texas government website. The whole first half of my book is a road novel so I thought it captured the feeling. The trip is not to Texas but to the mountains of Washington state, but I really like this picture.
Cris and I drove yesterday down I-5 and up into the Mojave Desert to visit our friend Christine. The three of us, together with a couple others, had a postmodern dance/performance art group in San Francisco 20 or so years ago. Christine lived at that time in a loft with a dance studio near 16th and Valencia, a loft where we produced many shows. She moved from that maelsrtom to a lonely desert town in 1993, so she’s now been in the desert most of the time I’ve known her, which seems strange. Since coming here she has become a painter and creator of installations. With other artists here — of which there are an increasing number — she produced a Homestead Cabin Festival this spring.
It’ll be very hot this weekend. It’s only 8:40 and it’s already about 88, I think.
Testing ability to post tomy blog from my Peek Pronto.
I hit return once before this graf.
Ihit return twice before this graf.
A smiley happened.
Mountain, where you burned
Last summer is now the greenest
Place on your shoulder