Fei’s Website Everything about Fei

April 28, 2008

政治呀政治

Filed under: 往事如风 — Fei @ 1:08 am

最近政治成了一个热门话题,从西藏暴乱到奥运火炬传递,从中国人感知到西方媒体传播。这一切一切都发展得太快。前些时候晚上看了看youtube的一些视频,读了读anti-cnn的一些观点,突然想到,我自已也曾卷入政治的漩涡中。

那时我在Princeton研究生会的Assembly里。我在里面两年,第一年作为ACSS的delegate,没有投票权。第二年作为ELE的representative,有投票权。Princeton研究生会的组成是这样的。每个系或program选一名representative组成Assembly,对所有研究生负责。每年全体研究生选出ExecutiveCommittee,对Assembly负责。Assembly每个月开一次会,讨论些日常事务。其他时候就在email list里讨论些乱七八糟的事。

要说明的是,在研究生会的时候是我比较黑暗的时候,那时对有些 事情的做法还是有待商讨的。这也算是个经验吧。我在Assembly里是典型的少数派,很多意见和美国人相左。记得有一次我就捅了一下马蜂窝,因为我提到台湾了。那是研究院第一次出了一本facebook,里面有一年级所有学生根据state/country分类。我扫了第一眼就发觉是politically incorrect。那分类把香港和台湾单独的列出来了。我这点政治敏感性还是有的。后来研究生会要我们给facebook提意见时我就说了出来。其实我的想法很简单,每个人的政治认同是个人的事,我从来没想强迫别人相信什么,我只是想把分类改成political neutral一点,避开政治,就行了。我当时预料到Assembly里会有阻力,所以我说的也挺有技巧,主要说香港,最后稍微带了一句,台湾也一样。还suggest了改变的方法:把分类变成state/country/region就行了,其他都不需要变,这样每个人可以有自己理解的余地。最后,为了分散注意,我在email里还加了另外一件不相干的事。可没料到的是,我的手段一点都没起到作用。整个Assembly就炸开了锅。好些人旗帜鲜明的反对,有人把西藏也抬出来,和巴勒斯坦比较,说是occupied territory。这也是我始料不及的。过了一会有些稍微理智一点的人出来打圆场(他们有些人的想法其实也和反对的人差不多,就是没有说出来)。东说说西说说,就是没人赞成加一个region(Miss Man除外)。等到事情稍微冷了一点的时候,我又写了一封信,对每个人的发言做了个rebuttal。这件事就不了了之了。第二年facebook倒是看到结果了,比第一年更糟,分类还是state/country,香港被并到中国里了,台湾还是单列。。。之后的事我就不说了。。。

再说一件我直接接触的西方民主的事吧,是关于GSG的By-law的事。Princeton的研究生会最初成立于1989年,那时叫做GSU。后来感觉叫union名称不好,2000年就重写了Constitution和By-law,改名为GSG。GSG的Constitution和By-law写得很好。我在写ACSS的Constitution的时候借鉴了很多。GSG里有一个veteran。他当年在Constitution筹备小组呆过。我第一次见他是我研一第二学期开学注册时在Dillon Gym门口,他要ratify新的Constitution。后来我进入GSG后就一直看他是officer。他其实人挺好的,就是有些理念和我不一样。那时GSG的officer都是全体研究生通过general election选出来的。不过这么多年general election也显出些问题。有一年选举,这位veteran自己钻了By-law的空子(因为那是他自己写出来的),先是declare candidacy,然后看别人选了,自己就withdraw,又发现那人withdraw了,自己又declare conditional candidacy。搞得很复杂,而By-law也没有写怎么办。让election committee的人很难办。他高票当选后Assembly就很恼火,逼他辞职,因为那时他已经不在Princeton了。其实他自己也不在乎当不当选,他只是想占一个名额,防止什么有”ill will”的人当选。那年确实有一个人竞选GSG的理念和别人很不一样,被他称为”ill will”。他在resignation statement里就说,他要abolish general election,用parliamentary election替代,以防止”ill will”的人。后来他又和其他两个人一起(都是veteran)draft一个新的By-law,要fix the holes in the By-law。新的By-law draft出来之后我一看,果然要abolish general election,虽然By-law里写得很好看,加了很多粉饰,留了general election的可能,可事实上是行不通的。可这怎么行,完全不符合我的理念。(其实我并不是总是prefer general election的,像中国现阶段我就觉得parliamentary election就好。很多事都是依情况而定的。GSG进行parliamentary election是完全不符合实际情况的。)Assembly的实际情况是,没有什么人会认真读新旧By-law的。draft的那些人都是老手。没人跳出来的话Assembly也就是举举手,作个橡皮图章。可他们没有料到我早已经把By-Law读得底朝天了。于是我就跳了出来(后悔呀。。。)我写了一封20k的email,列举了种种parliamentary election的弊端,不符合Princeton的校情。那一方面就反驳,然后我再反驳,等等等等。我很喜欢写长文章的(虽然写得不好),这可以从我的blog里看出来。可当我看到对方写了封100k的email,我无语了,甘拜下风。其实我也不认为他们有什么阴谋,他们只是想防止理念很不同的人当选,也不相信全体研究生的判断力。换句话说就是想在体制内选举,使他们的理念得以延续。。。投票那天Assembly会议室里挤了很多人,我拿着我那破破的手提电脑,去的有些晚,看见一个座位前上放了一个pizza,不管他。把位子占了。后来那人回来,发现我鸠占鹊巢,但又看我气势汹汹的。乖乖的说,啊,你就坐在这儿吧。就跑到后面去了。其实那时我已经从ELE的representative上退下来了。我特地找了个ACSS的proxy,在离开GSG前再钻次牛角尖。会议上好多人都赞同adopt新的By-law,也有好多人反对。最后打了个折中,要在新的By-law基础上修改,保留generalelection。也算部分达到我的目的吧。如果我之前不摆事实讲道理的话,可能什么问题都没有就通过了。。。。

我在GSG里很明显的感到东西方文化的差异。GSG里很多事情都带着双重标准的,但这些双重标准都是民主产生的,很多人都感觉不到。Assembly里有些民主也是有局限的,一些时候就少数人主导大家的意见。在东方,很多事情都是先向组织汇报,由组织决定做什么,再服从组织决定。在西方,很多事情都是先lobby,lobby好后再提出议案通过。GSG有时做决定只考虑自己,而不考虑其他组织的实际情况(像By-law那件事)。中国有时考虑问题要照顾到弱势群体,替他们着想。在美国就看不见,你自己不speak out,你就被ignore(这在GSG里很明显)。另一点明显不同的是,东方人对自己的主义看得很重,很理想化,为了自己的主义可以在议会里大打出手(象韩国、台湾、日本一样)。西方对union看得很重,很现实,总是考虑现在做什么对自己最有利。就是不同的政见在话语上都要说得文绉绉的,表面文章要做得很好。这也是我在GSG里受到的最大的一个教训。我在GSG见到的那些民主的trick在中国的人大、政协也都有表现。给我感觉其民主的本质没有什么区别。民主只是一种政治制度,不是什么包治百病的仙丹。很多事情都是人做出来的。民主的含义也远远超出了一人一票,也有很多dirty politics,只是规则不同罢了。民主有优点也有缺点,需要辩证的看,要符合实际情况。。。

政治真是无处不在。让我感到庆幸的是,我做ACSS president的时候在校内基本没有受到政治的干扰。board里的人都很热情,讨论问题很民主,需要决定的事都投票决定,成为组织决定。这也是我后来决定写个Constitution的原因之一。但在校外,就没有那么幸运了。很多事情都可以看到政治的影子。举例说吧。2002年末中国电信突然大幅提高国际长途的电话费,学生打电话回家突然变得很贵,当时Caltech ACSS发起petition,抗议中国电信。ACSS就受到外部干扰,想阻止Princeton endorse the petition。其目的竟然是看不得Caltech 来主导这次petition(他们有他们的私利在里面)。但后来ACSS还是集体决定endorse了。转年美国签证突然变得很难,很多同学回国被security check好几个月。当时各个学校的ACSS都有所行动。Princeton主要是向学校反映情况。后来Tilghman专门去参议院听证visa的事,成为第一位向政府高层反映情况严重的高校校长。不久后我见到Tilghman时专门感谢她为international students做的事。有些学校举行网上签名,petition。Princeton ACSS也是能endorse的就endorse。可很少有人知道背后有些人(少数人吧)为petition的主导权争得很凶。。。有一次Princeton ACSS的一位member去DC去见参议院中国事务小组的chair,一位senior senator,以ACSS的名义写了一封petition。不久有人竟然打电话询问,要我警惕一小簇无恐天下不乱的人以ACSS的名义为非作歹。他竟然也有一份当时petition的原件,要我确认没有被私自改动过。。。我当时就想#$@!%。2003年SARS很严重,Princeton ACSS组织了捐款活动。那时候真是谨小慎微,严格符合学校章程,和研究生院和国际中心经常通气,办得还是很成功的。。。可有些别的地方的捐款行动却变成了闹剧,比如捐的钱突然变没了。。啊。。。社会真是很复杂呀。。。我真是很怀恋在ACSS的时光,怀恋一起工作过的朋友。特别庆幸ACSS没有被政治污染。。。

对我影响最深的其实是那年纽约学联的内乱。我对纽约学联的事是能躲就躲,但还是目睹了学联的内部矛盾越来越深,最后发展成了分裂。。。其中真是看到了一些人手段的阴险,民主的虚伪。。。真是应验了一句老话:政治斗争是残酷的。也应验了另一句老话:政治上没有永远的朋友(敌人),只有永远的利益。。。

离开Princeton之后我就遵循一句格言:远离政治,珍爱生命。政治呀政治。

P.S.This article is purely from my perspective. It may be very biased. If you want to know what really happened during that time, dig it out yourself.

April 6, 2008

The Secret

Filed under: Freestyle — Fei @ 10:42 pm

The Secret“,is a movie, is a book. It is the #1 bestseller in New York Times. Recently, I heard it over, and over, and over again. Out of curiosity, I checked out what it was. The book is about the law of attraction. In a sentence, the book describes the phenomenon of “you get what you want”. If you want something, you just need to think think think think about it.. think really really hard, and you will get it. Either you will try very hard to get it yourself, or something miraculously will happen. If you think it positively, you will get it positively. If you think it negatively, you will get it negatively. If you don’t want something, however, you still get that thing you want to avoid. It is the power of your mind.

My first impression was… gosh, they stole my idea… I didn’t form the exact “law”, but I had something quite similar… I didn’t think it original or novel however. To me, this theory is not well crafted. It tries to describe some observations with some fragmented, superficial reasoning. Actually, the phenomena have been observed for thousands of years and were theorized by many religions. For the religions I studied, Christianity and Buddhism, both have their own explanations. Christians attribute it to the power of God. Christians pray, trying to make a connection with the God, wishing something to happen. Sometimes God will indeed show His power. On the other hand, Buddhists attribute it to the power of Karma. Depending on the Karma you accrued in your this life and previous lives, you will or will not get what you want.

I, on the other hand, have my own theory. I have a theory, or more precisely, a hypothesis, on the formation of the universe. It tries to make connections among different religions and make them compatible. To me, different religions are just different views of the same “reality” from different angels. I always want to write my theory down. Actually, I have finished part of it and sent to a few friends to review…. but because of my recent interests in my new business, it is virtually put on hold now.

Of course, “the secret” is superstitious. It cannot be fully explained by the current scientific means, and thus, is not qualified as a “law”. However, even for believers of strong atheism (naturalism), this book may have some enlightening effect: think positively, focus on your dreams. After all, everything has two sides. It depends on what you take on. I like what Lu Xun said almost a century ago: You shouldn’t refuse something without even looking into it. You don’t know what you are refusing. What you can do instead, is to take it, study it, absorb what you consider beneficial, and discard what you consider not.

April 1, 2008

Business Opportunities

Filed under: 往事如风 — Fei @ 10:09 pm

Recently, as many of my friends have already known, I partnered with several friends and started a sideline business. The business is for a network marketing company. For most of my friends, their first reactions are the same: how can you do this, why do you do this? I’m not going to hide anything here, nor will I try to convince you that it is a good opportunity. Before I join the company, I’ve already known the general reputation of such companies in many people’s minds, including many of my friends. Everyone has his own opinions on such companies. I’m well aware of the risks involved. The more important questions are: how do you manage your risks, and what do you expect to get out of it. It’s still very premature to reveal my exact reasons to join. Here I just want to raise to your attention why you might want to open your mind and start something similar.

I’m not going to lecture you on the issues I deem important. Instead, if you are interested in reading, it doesn’t hurt reading one of the New York Times #1 best seller: “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. It is a very popular book and I presume many of you have already read it, or at least heard about it. The more important thing is, what do you get out of the book? After you read this best seller book, if you are still interested, though you might have some questions, you can read his second #1 best seller in New York Times: “Cashflow Quadrant”. If you see some interesting points from his second book, why not playing a game Robert invented, the cashflow games. At last, if you agree with at least some of his points, here’s the last book I recommend you to read for now: “The Business School for People Who Like Helping People”.

Frankly, as many rich and famous people, Robert Kiyosaki is a controversial person. Many people attack his ideas, his methodologies. I don’t endorse all his ideas, instead, I reserve my opinions on many of the principles he advocates. However, I do agree with his arguments on mindset and value systems. You, after reading those books, may derive your own opinions. Maybe you don’t like his ideas at all; maybe you don’t care his categorizations; or maybe, you want to try something different. There is no right or wrong. Different people have different paths, different value systems, different trade-offs. But at least, you need to know the options in order to make a conscious decision.

Anyways, I will say no more. This article is not trying to convince you anything, not trying to sell you anything. As I said to some of my friends already, I’m not going to hide anything. At the very least, it is just to let you know what I’m doing now, and raise your alarm bell when I talk with you.

You can visit two websites a few of my friends created if you want to know a little bit more:
www.ProDesigner150.com
www.BridgeToYourHealth.com

Well, let me know what you think if you are ever interested in reading the books I mentioned above. I’m always interested in hearing from others.

p.s. My adventure may turn out to be a total disaster eventually. This message only reflects my thoughts now and now only (and I’d like to record it down). However, I’d like to cite a few words from Robert’s “Cashflow Quadrant” : Many people will not head down the street until all the lights are green. That’s why they don’t go anywhere.

Powered by WordPress