Wednesday, August 30, 2006

CFP: Special issue, Asian Journal of Communication

Asian Journal of Communication
Call for Papers

Special Issue Editors:
Chingching Chang, Ph.D., Department of Advertising, National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan
Ven-hwei Lo, Ph.D., Department of Journalism, National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan

Title of the Special Issue:
Internet vs. Traditional Media: Influences on Political Attitudes and Behaviors

Exposure to mass media constructs our view of the world and shapes our political attitudes. Early research has demonstrated the influences of traditional media on different aspects of social and political life. As the Internet penetration rate reaches 50% in many Asian countries, and Internet use displaces time for traditional media, it is important to understand the role that Internet use plays in shaping our world views or political attitudes. The special issue will focus on the influences of the Internet use or compare the influences of the Internet and traditional media in political arenas. Manuscripts submitted for the special issue should compare such influences as (but are not limited to):
  • political knowledge
  • issue learning in elections
  • political attitudes
  • political participation
  • political efficacy, trust, and alienation
  • political mobilization
  • social capital
  • civic engagement
  • public opinions
  • agenda setting
Submission Information:
Deadline for Submission: 31st December, 2006. Submitted manuscripts should follow the format as indicated in the Submission Guidelines on the Journal website ( The manuscript should be prepared in Microsoft Word format. The names, affiliations, and contact information (i.e., phone, fax, email addresses) of all authors should be provided on the cover page only. The author(s) should not be identified elsewhere in the manuscript. Submitted papers will undergo a double-blind review. Authors may submit completed manuscripts electronically at any time prior to the deadline, 31st December, 2006. Manuscripts and any questions should be directed to:

Chingching Chang, Ph.D.
Department of Advertising
National Chengchi University
e-mail: shenccchang [at]
Tel: + (02) 29393091 ext. 88144
Fax: + (02) 27605662

Ven-hwei Lo, Ph.D.
Department of Journalism
National Chengchi University
e-mail: loven [at]
Tel: + (02) 29393091 ext. 67075
Fax: + (02) 29382063
(Hope some folks from Taiwan will submit manuscripts!)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Dr Pepper update, and a theory about macaroni and shui jiao

Since, judging from comments, my most popular posts are about either donuts or Dr Pepper, I present this update for your examination.

This morning we took Tim Maddog's advice and headed down (over?) to Mei Chen Siang to get ourselves some Dr Pepper (a.k.a. "nectar of the gods").

Mei Chen Siang is a bakery/import store located in one of the older sections of downtown Taichung. You can see some interesting old architecture in that area. Next time I go down there I'm going to go spelunking down some of those old alleys. And I'll bring a camera with me, of course. (The former native Chinese speaker says I must have lived in Taichung in a past life. Maybe I'm looking for "my" old home?)

Anyway, we got the Dr Pepper. I bought only one six-pack as a way to force myself to enjoy each can (and also so I have an excuse to go back again...). Also bought some other goodies like Pop-Tarts and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

Every time I see a box of macaroni and cheese I remember something said by a friend from my days at Feng Chia University. I won't mention her name, but her first name starts with an "H". (hee hee) We used to eat shui jiao (水餃) a lot back then at a place near the university. Then one day after she had eaten some macaroni and cheese that she'd bought at Mei Chen Siang, H made an observation to the effect that although shui jiao and macaroni are both delicious, after you eat shui jiao you tend to want to brush your teeth right away. (Anyone who's ever been stuck in a car with me when I've burped after eating shui jiao will agree with that. [ewwwww...].) But, H continued, after you eat macaroni and cheese you don't want to brush your teeth right away because you want to experience that flavor longer.

I don't know if H still holds to that opinion, but I've found that it pretty accurately matches my experience. But I want to test it again soon.

(If I don't post again, it's probably because H has killed me...)

[Update: I am still alive. Just wanted to mention the joy I just had eating some canned ravioli. And don't try to scare me by telling me what's in that stuff. Remember Homer Simpson's reaction to Marge's comment that the dog's food was "mostly snouts and entrails": "Mmmmmm... snouts..."]

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

"What Your Freshmen Don't Know"

Inside Higher Ed has posted Beloit College's annual list of what first-year college students do and don't know about the world. As a public service to faculty members in Taiwan, I'm posting the ones that seem most relevant to our context. Please add more Taiwan-specific items in the comments.
  1. The Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union. [Do schools in Taiwan even have student unions?]
  2. They have known only two presidents. [But that could be said about almost any generation of college freshmen in Taiwan...]
  3. There has always been only one Germany.
  4. They are wireless, yet always connected.
  5. They grew up with and have outgrown faxing as a means of communication.
  6. "Google" has always been a verb. [This one is a stretch... but I liked it.]
  7. Text messaging is their e-mail. [IM is, too.]
  8. Young women's fashions have never been concerned with where the waist is. [Actually, I'm not sure about this one...]
  9. They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.
  10. Being techno-savvy has always been inversely proportional to age.
  11. They have always been able to watch wars and revolutions live on television. [Except that TV news here seems mainly concerned with the scandals of entertainers and presidential families.]
  12. They have always had access to their own credit cards. [Possibly. And cell phones, too!]
  13. Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti have always been luxury cars of choice. [At least Lexus.]
  14. ...
I await your additions (either English or Chinese are fine) with gleeful anticipation.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Things and memories and memories and things

I've been moving to a new office lately, in the process (almost literally) unearthing various pictures, notes, papers that students never came to pick up (ahem!), cards given or sent to me on Teacher's Day or Christmas. I even found one huge card that students gave me on my birthday 11 years ago. (I'm not sure how they knew when my birthday was--it's not like department stores hold sales on that day or anything.)

I don't seem to be willing to throw anything away, for fear of forgetting people or forgetting the feelings associated with those things. I remember when I moved to the US I had to throw away a pair of shoes that one of my FENM classes gave me for Christmas in 1993 (that had to be about the oddest gift I've ever received from students). They bought the shoes after asking me about my shoe size (I figured they were just curious, since I have big "foreigner feet"). Unfortunately, the shoes didn't fit very well and were uncomfortable to wear, so I didn't get much use out of them. I kept them for almost 6 years, though, as if I expected to be able to wear them some day, or as if I were afraid some day I'd run into one of those students and they'd ask about the shoes. Or that by throwing something away, I'd be throwing someone away. (The shoes thing proves it--I don't remember any of those students' names.)

I seem to have inherited this from my parents--my mother, at least. She has boxes and boxes of letters, Christmas cards, birthday cards, etc. that she has saved over the years. Now that my parents are at an age where they're thinking about what they'll leave behind to my brother and me, my mother mentioned that she was thinking of throwing away all those letters. My brother's and my responses (not surprisingly) were "Don't!" So one of these days (if the world doesn't end first) I'll have even more things and memories on my hands.

My research also relies on memories, and things, and memories of things. Using archival documents and interviewing people about events that happened to them 30, 40, 50 years ago involve a lot of work with memories. I'm constantly presenting to someone something they wrote long ago, hoping to get a glimpse of what they remember about how and why they wrote it. I always get answers that are helpful, even when the person says, "I wrote that?!"

But working with those people and materials (whether they're archival documents or the letters my mother has kept) also gives me a sad feeling sometimes--kind of an awareness of mortality and of how lives can go in completely different directions from what people expected when they were younger and perhaps more idealistic. To quote one of my interviewees, "The worst part about time isn't growing old, it's the increasing distance from experiences and emotions that have been so important in shaping one's life. The power and intensity fade, and you're left with so little you can put your finger on." Maybe that's another reason I keep all those old things from my own past. They connect me with that other me.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Hole-y draft! (Or drafty ...)

Just sent my diss. advisor 60 pages of Swiss Cheese. Time for bed.

Guess I'll have to stop drinking Pepsi for a while... least until they get these pictures of Rain off the cans. I'm afraid my 渴望 isn't 突破ed by his presence. (Bleah!)

Where'd all the Dr. Pepper in this town go, by the way? Someone at Finga's told me they couldn't import it anymore...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Going crazy...

For the past two weeks, workers in the apartment downstairs have been knocking out walls, drilling into concrete, and doing whatever else they can do to make as much noise as possible. It's not only driving me absolutely insane, but it's also got me worried that some day we're going to wake up in the morning and find ourselves in the basement. Grrrrr...

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the chemicals they're spraying down there. Paint? Paint remover? I don't know... For some reason, though, it reminds me of "The Cloud Minders" from Star Trek...

[Update, Sep. 5: They're still doing work--hammering, sawing, drilling, shouting, smoking, all as loudly as they can. I hear they'll only be doing it for 10 more days, though...]

Friday, August 11, 2006

New ICC course blog stimulates thoughts and a request for help

I never took a course is newswriting, so pardon my headline.

I've been working on moving my Intercultural Communication course's website/blog/whatchamacallit to its new home here. In addition, I've been working on lining up new online exchange partners, since my previous partner has moved on. I've ordered the new textbook, Communication Between Cultures, and am working out the course schedule.

In light of recent events in the world, though, I've been having some dark Apocalyptic thoughts that question what possible good a little course like ICC can do in the world. I'm going to resist being overwhelmed by those kinds of thoughts, but suffice it to say that this semester's course will be a darker, leaner ICC--sort of a Spider-Man 3 of ICC courses. (Hmmm... that'll have people scratching their heads...)

Anyway, I'm somewhat happy with the new site (and a prospective student has already pronounced it "more fabulous", so it can't be that bad). But I have been working, in my own low-tech way, on putting the posts on the ICC blog into categories, and I have a couple of questions. I'm not particularly confident with the way in which I'm tagging the posts--the descriptor choices, the number of categories I'm putting each post into, the (growing) total number of categories... So my question is, when you're tagging posts to put them into categories, how do you decide these things (descriptors, number of categories, number of total categories)? Or, is there some sort of website someone can direct me to, kind of a "Tagging for Dummies" that would give me some pointers? Thanks...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A new book in the former native speaker's library

To get my mind off Mei-mei, let me mention a new book that I just received the other day.
  • The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters, by Frances Stonor Saunders (NY: New Press, 1999).
    This was originally published in the UK as Who Paid the Piper? I just started reading it, and so far it's pretty interesting. It traces the history of the CIA's involvement in the ideological war against the Communists during the Cold War. Its focus appears to be mainly on the Cold War in Europe.

Just had to post this...

I was up late last night looking through our pictures of Mei-mei. Every once in a while I'd let out a laugh and tell Mei-mei's "mom" to stop in and check out a particularly funny one.

Here's one from 2004 that we thought was cute--Mei-mei's either giving me a kiss or trying to tell me a secret. (Or maybe she's trying to help me clean my ears.)

I was up until about 3:00 trying to post it, but our Internet connection wasn't being very cooperative. But here it is, finally.

[Update: A friend says this picture reminds her of "Beauty and the Beast", but she's not sure which is which...]

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Mei-mei (妹妹), 1994-2006

Mei-mei passed away today at about 3:00 p.m. after complications from diabetes. She taught us a lot about living and dying, and we're sure she's in a better place now.