Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Kaohsiung Incident 40th anniversary exhibit at the Kaohsiung Museum of History

This hasn't been publicized much for some reason, but from now until Dec. 15, the Kaohsiung Museum of History is hosting a special exhibit on the Kaohsiung Incident (美麗島事件). Here's a press release about the exhibit (in Chinese). A rough Googled translation:
Exhibition Name: Looking Back on the Road-Belonging to Our Beauty Island
Exhibition time: November 29-December 15, 108 [2019]
Venue: Special Room 104, Kaohsiung City History Museum 
The development of democracy is a long road, and Taiwan's democratic process is obvious to all. This (108 [2019]) year is the 40th anniversary of the beautiful island incident. This event is not only a very important historical chapter of Kaohsiung, but also a crucial moment influencing Taiwan's democratic development. The Kaohsiung City History Museum serves as the cultural and historical base of Kaohsiung City. Through the help of the National Human Rights Museum of the National Human Rights Museum and Mr. Su Yaochong of Providence University, Kaohsiung launched the "Looking Back to the Road of Time-November 29, 108" A special exhibition of our island of beauty. 
On the (29th) day, the curator Professor Su Yaochong of Jingyi University gave a lecture on the 40th Anniversary of the Beautiful Island Incident and a special exhibition tour, sharing how the people strived for "democratic politics" before and after the event. Countless sacrifice, in exchange for understanding the results of strict and democratization. 
Lin Siling, director of Kaohsiung City Government Bureau of Cultural Affairs of Kaohsiung City, said that as long as it happened on this land, it should stay in the hearts of people in this land. Democracy is a kind of literacy. Regardless of the inheritance of democracy 40 years ago or 40 years later, there will be different expressions of maturity after different stages. I hope that school institutions can come to the exhibition and think about how young generations can achieve it through peaceful and contributing methods. Democracy belonging to this generation. 
The special exhibition uses three exhibition areas, "Background of the Times", "Outbreak of Conflict" and "Beyond Beautiful Island", to combine photographs, police helmets and shields, newspaper clippings, and cultural relics from other party magazines at the time to tell the public about the beautiful island incident. Pick up and turn. I hope that through the exhibition, I will lead the audience to trace the historical context of this major event, and then reflect on the future of Taiwan's democratic politics. 
The "Kaohsiung Incident" or "Beautiful Island Incident" occurred on December 10, 1979, when the "Beautiful Island Magazine" held a march to promote International Human Rights Day. A serious clash between police and civilians broke out. A total of 152 people were arrested. The remainder were tried in general justice and another 8 were tried in military law.
I'm unfortunately not going to be able to go since we won't be going to Taiwan this winter break, but I hope anyone who sees this will either go or publicize the exhibit more on social media so it gets good attendance.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Night in the American Village

I just finished reading Akemi Johnson's Night in the American Village: Women in the Shadow of the U.S. Military Bases in Okinawa, which I bought in Kindle format after reading John Grant Ross's review of it.

Ross does a good job summarizing the book (without giving away too much!), so I recommend you read his review (and then buy the book!). I just want to mention a few points that I found interesting (which probably will say more about my own particular--or peculiar--interests than about the book itself). A lot of what the book centered around had to do with language, culture, and intercultural relations of various kinds--not surprising, I suppose. One extended example:

Johnson describes a 34-year-old Okinawan woman named Naomi who worked at the U.S. Navy Hospital as an Master Labor Contractor (MLC), a full-time position for "permanent residents of Japan who are unconnected to the U.S. military"; Johnson describes MLCs as forming "the lowest rung of the chain of command, below American active duty and civilian personnel." And not surprisingly, these workers as the lowest rung turn out to be "the continuity that [keep] the place running." One of things that make Naomi essential to the functioning of the base is her language ability and cultural knowledge. Johnson describes how this knowledge works on a typical day:
Over the first four to five years on the job, Naomi had learned a sophisticated system of code-switching to thrive in her multicultural workplace. "Once I go through the fence [between the U.S. base and its surroundings], I become chotto, a little bit, American," she said. On base, she shifted her mindset, ready to say "no" if she meant "no" instead of the "Hmm, let me think about it" she'd use off base. she had to be ready to adjust, depending on whom she was talking to, something she excelled at because of her experience living in both the United States an Okinawa. "I can imagine how they tend to think," she said of Americans and Okinawans. She knew with a local, middle-aged man who worked on base, she had to joke with him, talking to him casually, with an Okinawan accent. When she spoke to her contractor from mainland Japan, she switched to a Tokyo accent, which she'd learned from having Japanese roommates in the States. With her American supervisor, she had to use clear and professional English. If she messed up, the stakes could be high. "If I talk to an Okinawan ojichan [grandpa] with a mainland accent, he'll block me right away. Boom! 'I don't talk to you anymore.'" If she talked to him the correct way, he treated her like family. "That's how I figured out how to survive in that environment. I like it, actually."
Shuttling among languages and cultures (as Suresh Canagarajah might put it), Naomi demonstrates a sophisticated rhetorical awareness of what it takes to get done with different people in different contexts. She is almost a different person depending on who she is talking to. To Johnson, Naomi points out the implications of this in terms of her self-identity:
Looking back on her experience, Naomi thought it was easy to label the different roles she had played: Okinawan, international student, adult professional. But those labels didn't adequately describe her. "The inside is more difficult," she said. "I'm a blend of so many factor: Okinawa, United States, California, and on the base. ... It's hard to categorize me right now." ... She valued this flexible self she had cultivated. "My perspective changes almost every day," she said. "I'm creating my own style."
I'm not sure if Naomi is her real name because Johnson notes that she changed some interviewees' names (but on the other hand, she mentions a "Naomi Noiri" in her acknowledgments). I've been discussing with some colleagues the issue of international students' names, in particular the international students who choose to be called by "English" names. Naomi's experience and her awareness of moving in and out of identities adds an interesting twist to the question of what it might mean to take on a name that is not the one you were born with (or rather, that your parents gave you) in intercultural contexts.

Anyway, read the whole book! It's a great read.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Oh, and on a vaguely related note...

The pastors in the churches from my fundamentalist upbringing are saying, "Aha! I told you so!"

And when I saw this new item, I immediately thought of this:

(Don't think those pastors would appreciate the song, though...)

Something to come back to when I get a chance (I always say that...)

A student in one of my first-year writing classes is doing research on "technological singularity" and it jogged my memory of a book I once owned (and might have actually read some of!) years ago by Stephen L. Talbott: The Future Does Not Compute: Transcending the Machines in our Midst. (I'm amazed that I can actually remember the whole title! Must have been memorable!) Unfortunately, I no longer seem to have that book unless it's in my in-laws' house in Taiwan, but I was able to find some notes on the book by C. M. Mayo, who did a lot of research on the ideas behind the book. She also points out that Talbott has put the book online on his website, so I don't have to buy it again...

I don't know (yet) how Talbott's book might connect to the questions my student will be trying to answer about technological singularity, but it might be that the warnings that he raises are even more fundamental to our relationship with each other and technology than the question of what AI might be able to do in the future.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Publication by former student

Rickard Stureborg, a student from my summer ENGW 3315 (Advanced Interdisciplinary Writing) course, revised one of his projects for class and submitted it to "Towards Data Science," an online publication of articles about data science and machine learning. The other day he wrote to tell me that they had published it! Yay!

Here's his article, "Artificial Neural Networks for Total Beginners." Using an example of how to predict the height of a tree based on the soil content of the ground, Rich explains how models would be created, tested, and refined using machine learning.

Note: I know that almost 20 years ago I argued against teachers "advertising" students' publications because it struck me as being an appropriation of their work.  But as Rich told told me, the more I share it, the more people will see it. (Now I have to go back and revise that paper...)

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Hajimu Masuda on Andrew Grajdanzev

In a comment, "yh" pointed me to a book review of Hajimu Masuda's Cold War Crucible, which contains a paragraph about Andrew Grajdanzev. Here's the passage:

For folks who can't see the Google book (users of Google Chrome?):
The case of Andrew Grajdanzev was even worse. Born in Siberia, and having spent almost his entire life in Harbin and Tianjin, China, before immigrating to the United States in the 1930s, Grajdanzev was Willoughby's number one target and had been placed under strict surveillance in 1946. He was tailed, his room was secretly searched, and his letters were read, though there was no substantial evidence that he had done anything wrong. A three-week counterintelligence investigation found that he tended to eat by himself, stay at home, and visit the same places frequently. This last behavior did attract an investigator's interest, but it turned out that he was regularly learning Japanese and teaching English. Nevertheless, when he returned to the United States, he could not find a job in government at all, due to rumors and attacks, despite his work experience in the SCAP, a Ph.D. in economics, and fluency in Russian, Japanese, Chinese, and English. Eventually he studied library science, starting over completely, and got a job at a small local library. (p. 30)
Willoughby, as I mentioned in an earlier post, was a witness during the IPR hearings. But he wouldn't say anything about Grajdanzev because a Presidential Directive and Army orders didn't allow him to (see page 387).

Friday, August 23, 2019

New year's resolutions for the 2019-2020 academic year

Although in some ways this is a bit of a masochistic exercise, I'm going to write up a short list of resolutions for the academic year as I did last year and some years before. Two of my main motivations for doing this are that 1) I haven't posted anything in August yet, and 2) I should be working on revising a book chapter that's due Sept. 3 and/or writing a new syllabus for the first-year writing class I'll be teaching in a couple of weeks. And nothing beats procrastination as a motivation for making new year's resolutions, right? No? Hmmm....

Well, anyway, last year I had deleted my Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ (RIP) accounts, so I was able to get more work done (somewhat). Unfortunately, I have drifted back onto Twitter, which I'll probably have to disconnect from sooner or later because it's so depressing. If I can keep away from Twitter, I'd like to do more reading and writing (in addition to the required reading and writing I do for my classes). I'd like to try to do some of that reading and writing in Chinese, too.

I could also try to spare some more time for family activities. Last fall was nice for that (at least for a while) because we had "family time" on Fridays, but this fall we'll all be in school on Fridays, so we might have to join the crowds on Saturday.

Hmmm... this is beginning to sound more like a wish list than a list of resolutions. Maybe I'll come back and fill in the blanks later... [Update, 8/27/19: I took action on my "wish list" yesterday by deleting my Twitter account. So I'll either get more things done or I'll spend inordinate amounts of time skimming my LinkedIn feed...]

Monday, July 29, 2019

Desperately seeking an early manuscript version of Formosa Betrayed

I have written before on this blog and in my intro. to the Camphor Press edition of Formosa Betrayed about the book's pre-publication history. It's a complex affair that I have not come to the end to. Right now I'm trying to figure out where to track down a manuscript from the late 1940s or early 1950s, titled, variously, The Development of Modern Formosa, Formosa--Yesterday and Today, Formosa: The Five Fateful Years, 1945-1950, and The Formosa Question, 1945-1951. (There are probably other titles I haven't come across.)

I have come across (through Google) two books that cite Development in their bibliographies: It was evidently seen by Jan Erik Romein because he cited it in his 1956 book, De Eeuw Van Azië. It's cited as "Kerr, G. H. The development of modern Formosa, 1950." Romein was a Dutch Marxist historian. His book, whose English title is The Asian Century: A History of Modern Nationalism in Asia, was also published in Japanese in 1961 as アジアの世紀 : 近代アジア民族主義史. Anyway, I wonder if there was a connection between Romein and the Institute of Pacific Relations.

Kerr's book is also cited in The Statesman's Year-Book: Statistical and Historical Annual of the States of the World for the Year 1952, and listed as being published in NY. Wonder if the editor of this book also got a copy of the manuscript. If both this book and Romein cite it as 1950, that means that they had an earlier version of the ms that Kerr eventually withdrew from the IPR.

No manuscript shows up, that I've seen, in any of the IPR archives at Columbia University, U of Hawai'i, or U of British Columbia. Guess I'll keep looking. I'm open to suggestions...