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Trevor Stone's Journal
Those who can, do. The rest hyperlink.
Men Pass Through The Gate 
16th-Jan-2009 09:00 pm
Trevor Stone Character
Two follow-up thoughts to my post about writing systems yesterday:

The obvious advantage of simplified Chinese characters over traditional characters is that they're easier to learn. The People's Educators have taught a couple hundred million people how to read and write a very complicated writing system, so using 门 instead of 門 as the foundation for a big pile of characters makes it a little easier. But there's a more subversive effect: It makes it harder for people to read old books. If the only books printed in simplified characters were approved by the Communist Party, young impressionable minds wouldn't be exposed to the books that slipped through the cracks of the cultural revolution.

In the way that some people form book clubs, I should join a Wikipedia club. Every week we pick a topic and share what we've learned about it from the Internet.

In other news, I seem to get stupid when I'm sick. I've been fighting a cold for four days and just now realized that I have Emergen-C at home, at work, and probably in my backpack somewhere.
17th-Jan-2009 06:17 am (UTC)
I just found out that there is a significant portion of young people in China who do not know about the Cultural Revolution and its full effects and ramifications, not because of any "damn kids don't know yer own history" that goes on here, but because it is still actively kept out of their hands.

That bothered me tremendously.
17th-Jan-2009 07:26 am (UTC)
There are some glaring holes in the average American historical knowledge, too. Japanese internment camps is the first thing that jumps to mind. Mine* and labor massacres is another. But nothing on the scale of the Cultural Revolution -- that would keeping the Vietnam War and counterculture out of schools.

I'm also not sure the blame is entirely on the authorities. Lonely Planet advised travelers not to ask older folks about the cultural revolution on the grounds that they'd probably prefer not to remember those times. The government doesn't tell kids about it, but neither do their (grand)parents.

* Case in point: I didn't realize Ludlow was 85 years to the day before Columbine until I just looked at the Wikipedia page.
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