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fuck you是首好歌

委培年快完了……哭……

 
 
 

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12.31年底犒勞自己一下,順便小曬命~  

2009-12-31 16:40:14|  分类: 冰影 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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這個,我們今個學期兩門外教課,都要交final essay。今天終於基本搞掂啦~貼上來沾沾自喜一下~~

 

Why Are Chinese Students Crazy about Christmas?

     No staggering campus news this year could compare to the one that my dormitory building was decorating for Christmas, given it did not bother to burnish its image at Mid-Autumn Festival!  Now, on the glass gates are pieces of snowflake-shaped ornaments and posters of Santa Claus, and in the hall a delicately embellished Christmas tree is erected.  Meanwhile, everything takes a back seat to the preparations of Christmas in most Chinese students’ list, namely wrapping up gifts, sending Christmas cards or planning for a magnificent shopping on Christmas Eve, but what astonishes me most is not their intense enthusiasm for this festival, but they are going all out to celebrate something they are not familiar with!  The majority of the Chinese students have no idea of the legends of Christmas; some would even ask what an elf is!  Then what on earth prompts the popularity of Christmas among Chinese students?  I believe the reasons are summed up in businessmen’s pursuit of profits, Chinese students’ eager for a chance to get together, and the decay of Chinese traditional festivals.

     Above all, the potential commercial value of Christmas drives merchants to make full use of it.  Stores are master advertisers.  To promote their sales, they will on no circumstance let go of a precious opportunity like Christmas, when customers can hardly wait to wade into the crowds and grab whatever that arouses their desire to buy as long as the discount is low enough.  As is reported, Intime Department Store in Hangzhou “achieved a skyrocketing sale of nearly one hundred million yuan” on Christmas in 2008.[1]  Therefore, before Christmas, stores spare no effort to flare the aura of Christmas shopping: Christmas trees show up at the doorways of stores, dressed in glitzy lights and a glittery range of pretty ornaments to exert a pull on customers; advertising boards in the windows seize the attention of passers-by with large sized words yelling that fantastic goods are on sale.  Students, whose parents by the large are abnormally generous at the end of the year because of their yearly bonus, hang out together with a fortune and are ready for the siege of stores.  My classmates just travelled all the way to the central business district to “feel the atmosphere of Christmas”, meaning they would return with several bags.  After all, nobody can resist the seduction of all those fifty-percent-off dazzling goods, not to mention these young shopaholics.  In such an atmosphere, Christmas is well received by merchants as well as young Chinese customers.

     In addition, Christmas serves as a marvelous occasion for students to escape family affairs and seek for the company of their peers.  The predominant festival in China is Spring Festival, when the students are dragged around paying visits to relatives however reluctant they are.  At Mid-Autumn Festival, Dragon Boat Festival and other major Chinese traditional festivals, family reunion and a feast are almost the last traditions that survive the rapid pace of modern life, otherwise why do Chinese could do nothing “in response to South Korea's successful nomination of the Dano (Duanwu) Festival in 2005 which China criticized as ‘cultural robbery’”[2]?  Nevertheless, it upsets me that I conserve traditions on the basis of the sacrifice of rare opportunities to have fun with my fellow classmates.  Family reunions deprive the students of the remaining possible chance to hang out together during the holidays of traditional festivals, since besides these holidays they are busy at school on weekdays and homework occupies their weekends.  However, on Christmas, which few Chinese parents are keen on celebrating, students obtain an excuse to be free from family activities.  They acquire a time when they can sing karaoke or go shopping in their peers’ company.   Young people love sticking with each other, and Christmas instead of any Chinese traditional festival provides for them with a chance to fulfill it.  Therefore, Chinese students welcome the festival and are motivated to have the best of it.

     Last but not least, because of the decay of Chinese traditional festivals, Chinese students’ focus shifts to western counterparts, especially Christmas.  Festivals are a time when people commemorate their traditions and travel outdoors to get pleasure from the hustle and bustle, but Chinese traditional festivals somehow develop into an occasion for people to make up for sleep and travel to tourist attractions with families, as few celebrations of them are organized in cities.  In an Internet survey this year, a fourteen-year-old middle school student claimed that he “possessed no knowledge of Dragon Boat Festival until his Chinese teacher told them Koreans had successfully nominated it as their cultural relic, thus raising a heated discussion in the class”.[3]  This piece of news further illustrates how dull our festivals become!  As a matter of fact, the celebrations of Chinese traditional festivals can be of great fun!  In the past, Chinese young people joined in the garden party of riddles at Mid-Autumn Festival; they adored the colorful fireworks at Spring Festival; they hiked up onto mountains and feasted their eyes on chrysanthemums at Double Ninth Festival.  However, despite the surge in our life standards, these activities fade away!  Modern Chinese students are too busy to have a taste of these traditional celebrations.  They still have tons of homework, and on some festivals, like the Double Seventh Day which is the Chinese Valentine’s Day, they even lack a day off!  Besides, modern celebrations of our traditional festivals are far from appealing enough to draw young students’ attention.  For instance, on Spring Festival’s Eve, our modern tradition is to enjoy a dinner with families and then settle on sofa to watch the CCTV Spring Festival Show, while most of my classmates would rather indulge themselves in computer games than sit with their families to watch the show.  To make it worse, our government seems indifferent to witness the decay of our traditional culture!   It was not convinced that we deserve a holiday on Chinese traditional festivals (except the Spring Festival) until 2008, when it finally decided to arrange a three-day holiday for each of Tomb-Sweeping Day, Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival.  Even so, we are in lack of government-organized activities on big scale to celebrate!  For example, I discovered a piece of news entitled “Santa Claus bestows presents on Yu Street”[4] on Hangzhou Government’s website, while I fail to find any news on the celebration of this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival.  In this situation, Chinese students turn to Christmas for help.  They vividly sense the atmosphere of a festival since their peers are all crazy about it and the atmosphere of Christmas unfolds around in the city!  The aura should be offered by our traditional festivals.  They failed, so Christmas substitutes. 

     To conclude, the popularity of Christmas results from merchants’ pursuit of profits, students’ desire to cement their friendship through mutual activities and a concession of Chinese traditional festivals to western counterparts.  Despite the concerns that Christmas may further corrode our traditional festivals, I believe Christmas is not to blame.  After all, it is the pursuit of fun and happiness that is behind all the rage.  However ignorant we are of Christmas, with it in town, we students are gifted an extra time to enjoy ourselves.  Therefore, when the music of Silent Night streams out from the stores, when our wallets are loaded with fresh cash, why shall we bother to consider why we celebrate Christmas?  Let us just join the shopping army and yell out with joy: Merry Christmas!



 

[1] http://q.chinasspp.com/n15679-2.html

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duanwu_Festival

[3] http://www.hezeribao.com/news/2009-05/25/content_16806.htm

[4] http://www.hangzhou.gov.cn/main/ggfw/zxxx/T309472.shtml

 

好長啊好長啊~~所以,上面那篇千二嘛,下麵這篇千七哦~~嘻嘻~~

 

Lobbies in America

When Michelle Obama, the first lady of the United States, bent down and planted chemical-free vegetables on the White House grounds with local fifth graders to promote healthy diets, she could not have expected a criticizing letter from Mid-America Croplife Association (MACA) that represents the pesticide and chemical fertilizer industries, saying “If Americans were still required to farm to support their family’s basic food and fiber needs, would the US have been leaders in the advancement of science, communication, education, medicine, transportation and the arts?”[1] This letter illustrates that as a traditional and influential political phenomenon, lobbying plays an increasingly important role in present American politics. Then what are some most powerful lobbies in the United States, and how exactly do they defend the groups they are on behalf of?

 

Lobbying Magnates

According to the annual survey of most powerful lobbying organizations conducted in 1999 by the Mellman Group, a Democratic firm, and Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican outfit, and published on Fortune, the Association of Retired Persons (AARP) was deemed the most influential lobby, followed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) (No.2), National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) (also No.2) and American Israel Public Affairs Committee (No.4).[2]

The list extends to the top 25, not to mention that the survey took into consideration “dozens of other organizations that qualified as major money players”[3]. However, I will focus on the top three so as to present a clearer picture of these lobbying magnates.

As mentioned above, the top three powerful lobbies are AARP, NRA and NFIB. Let us first take a look at some information of the three lobbies.[4]

 

AARP

NRA

NFIB

The year it was founded

1958

1871

1943

The number of its members

40 million

Nearly 4 million

0.35 million (some say 0.6 million)

What it provides to its members

Healthcare; discounts on specific products; job training

Firearm safety training services; marksmanship events featuring shooting and sports

Abundant business resources; legal help[5]

Its annual revenue

Approximately 1 billion dollars (2006)

More than 205 million dollars (2004)

Not found

Lobbying expenditure

23 million dollars (2006)

10 million dollars during the 2008 presidential campaign,

1.6 million dollars in the first half of 2009[6]

Based on the above chart, I conclude 4 major similarities among them, which I believe contribute to their strong power. First of all, they all have a long history, the shortest of which is 51 years of AARP. Their age guarantees them a steady and broad public foundation. Everyone simply hears about them all the time! Secondly, they enjoy vast membership base, which is obtained by their comprehensive and valuable resources. Besides, regardless of how selfish their aims are, the lobbies will have noble sounding goals in their public statements so as to persuade the citizens that they contribute to the society if they join the lobby. As a result, these lobbies recruit a hefty family! For one thing, among the members are certainly some influential figures who can exert their power to defend the lobby’s interest. For another, the great number of members itself forms a mighty power that cannot be neglected, especially when they launch a strike or participate in a political vote. Thirdly, with an enormous quantity of members, their revenues flourish. See AARP? It earned an astonishing revenue of 1 billion dollars in 2006, an achievement Facebook fails to fulfill until this year.[7] And at last, they spend quite a fortune on lobbying, based on which is their political influence. As a combination of plentiful human resources, rich financial support and leading political strength, they are crowned the three most influential lobbies.

Different Categories of Lobbies

Despite the above common characters the lobbies share, these organizations can in fact be sorted out! Here is my list of a variety of categories that different lobbies fit in.

Religious lobbies are at the top of my list. It is astonishing that America, the most developed nation in the world, also holds a proportion of religion believers that far surpasses other developed countries. Thanks to the First Amendment to its Constitution, America authorizes its citizens of various races to believe in any religion, including Christianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism. As a result, religion believers establish their own lobbies to protect their interest and express their political views. The leading one is Christian Coalition of America.

Labor union, or trade union, is another category that incorporates strong lobbies. Ever since the Industrial Revolution, “when the lack of skill necessary to perform the jobs shifted employment bargaining power almost completely to the employers' side, causing many workers to be mistreated and underpaid”[8], labor unions have boosted. Aiming at promoting workers’ well-being, labor unions find it out of the question to fulfill its goal without negotiation with the government. The clout of labor unions cannot be neglected, since by means of demonstration and strike, labor unions are capable of crippling economic production and government decisions, thus becoming essential lobbying organizations. The most powerful one is The American Federation of Labor and The Congress of Industrial Organization (AFL-CIO), which ranked 5th in the 1999 survey.

One more significant category would be trade associations, such as National Federation of Independent Business and the Independent Insurance Agents of America. The target of trade associations, apparently, is to guard their business interest, mostly in political methods. MACA’s complaint to Michelle Obama is such a case.

There are a great number of other influential lobbies that do not fit in the above categories. For example, the topmost organization in the 1997,1998 and 1999 surveys was AARP that is “dedicated to enhancing quality of life for all as we age”[9]. Besides, the National Rifle Association (NRA) “which lists as its goals the protection of the Second Amendment of the United States Bill of Rights and the promotion of firearm ownership rights as well as marksmanship, firearm safety, and the protection of hunting and self-defense in the United States[10] obtained the 2nd place in the 1999 survey. In addition, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, an illustration of different races’ political influence, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars are also major lobbies that are active in America.

 

How do lobbies lobby?

Let us first take a glimpse at the congress in America. As is known, America’s legislative power goes to the congress, and if lobbies want any bill favorable to them to pass, the congress would be their chief battlefield. The congress comprises of the Senate and the House, which are composed of more than five hundred senators and representatives. A bill is likely to come into effect only when it is approved by both the Senate and the House. Therefore, senators and representatives are key to a lobbying campaign. As long as more than fifty percent of each part of the congress vote for a bill which is favorable to a lobby, the lobby has half succeeded in defending its interest. But how do lobbies persuade members of the congress to vote for them?

Two essential methods are campaign contributions and imposing pressures. The first method, campaign contributions, is probably the most common method. A typical example would be trade associations. The members of trade associations are usually located across the country, which cripples them when they try to unite to sink a law proposal. Secondly, these businesses are affluent enough to afford millions of dollars’ contribution. Therefore, they contribute large sums of fund to the candidates when they launch a campaign for election. For example, the year 2008 has seen Joe Biden's Senate re-election campaign receiving $193,310 from lobbyists.[11] And if the candidate takes office, he shall know how to reward his sponsors.

Another major method is to impose pressure on the government with lobby members’ influence, which is a common tactic of labor unions. Once a labor union of a vital industry like transportation or communication launches a strike, the region or even the entire country will be paralyzed. French labor unions are probably the most notorious in the world in terms of their ability to trigger strikes. Type in “French workers strike” in Google and you get over twenty-nine million results. Some of these strikes have brought French into total chaos, thus forcing the officials to consider their requests seriously. Although American labor unions are less powerful, their tactics are quite the same. Besides a strike, lobbies can impose pressure on government through influential political figures they sponsor or through political advertising by means of mass media.

Apart from the above two methods, another bargaining chip of lobbies is that they provide a great number of voters. Take John McCain’s president election campaign for an example. Most conservative religious forces support the Republican Party, and the Christian Coalition of America is certainly in this camp. Here is an excerpt of its member’s message on www.cc.org, the official website of the Christian Coalition of America: “The liberal democrats will change the way we all live and worship. Their godlessness and disrespect will cause our wonderful nation to succumb to the ways of evil. I implore all of you to please vote for the our saviors John McCain and Sarah Palin!”[12] It is obvious that powerful lobbies can wield the power of voters to persuade congress members to lobby for their interest.

The three mentioned methods are most common, but some lobbies may come up with creative ideas. It is said that in a spring, when the congress members were debating whether they should aid the farmers in financial dilemma, a lobbying organization supporting the aid called for the farmers to transport three trucks of chickens and leave them in the offices of those who opposed the aid, claiming “we are too impoverished to raise these chickens, and now they are yours!”

 

In a way, American politics is the interaction of different interest groups, and lobbying is their battle to acquire and defend their business or political interest. In spite of president Barack Obama’s resolve to confine the influence of lobbies, lobbying organizations will by no means be eliminated in the short run. As a result, the lobbying industry will continue to flourish and attract elites from a wide range of fields to devote themselves to it and earn large sums of fortune.



 

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/06/AR2009050601105.html

[2] http://www.timewarner.com/corp/newsroom/pr/0,20812,667546,00.html

[3] http://www.timewarner.com/corp/newsroom/pr/0,20812,667546,00.html

[4] Except for the marked ones, all information come from Wikipedia.

 

[5] http://www.nfib.com

[6] http://undertheinfluence.nationaljournal.com/2009/08/status-quo-is-unacceptable-for.php

[7] http://www.iyenei.com/yenei-news/2009/1217/2192.html

[8] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_union#Criticism

[9] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AARP

[10] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Rifle_Association

[11] http://www.nationaljournal.com/conventions/co_20080825_3949.php

[12] http://www.cc.org/forum/mccainpalin_our_salvation

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