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From tea to opium: how the Scots left their mark on China | Aeon Essays
Like their 18th-century predecessors, Jardine and Matheson financed Britain’s lucrative tea trade in Canton by moving their clients’ money from India to China. Instead of transferring these fortunes through a variety of legal Indian and Southeast Asian commodities, namely cotton, pepper, wood, tin and saltpetre, as had been done in the past, the Scottish traders relied increasingly on a contraband product: Indian opium. In defiance of the laws of China they, along with private traders of different nationalities including Americans and Indian Parsis, smuggled tens of thousands of chests of opium into China each year during the first half of the 19th century.

In 1848 and again in 1849, Fortune travelled in full disguise, including the traditional Qing dynasty hairstyle with a shaved hairline and long braid, deep into the countryside of Zhejiang, Anhui and Fujian provinces. He was searching for the finest tea plants in China. Having acquired thousands of specimens and seeds, he shipped them all, carefully packed in airtight glass cases, from Hong Kong to the East India Company’s Botanical Gardens in Calcutta. From there, they went further, to the Company’s gardens in the Himalayas.

Scots played an outsized role in the intertwined trades of tea and opium, giving rise to social, economic and cultural developments that changed the macro relationship between Britain and China as well as everyday cultural practices and patterns of sociability.

When British consumers began sweetening their Chinese tea with Caribbean sugar, these two commodities, one from the East Indies, the other from the West, reinforced one another. The result was new fuel for the industrial revolution. In addition to coal, sugary tea made the revolution possible by helping British workers endure inhumanely long shifts in the textile factories of the industrial North.
drinking  uk  china  qing  history  scotland 
4 days ago by aries1988
诸神的黄昏
《春之祭》从文化史的角度给出了一个不同的解释:那场战争本质上是一场对旧秩序的宏大反叛,而这种普遍的内在冲动早已在人们的意识深处燃起。

这是一部德国视角的文化史,不说别的,单是这种从文化角度来看待战争冲突的想法就非常德国。可以说,一战本身就是一场“文化”对“文明”的战争:保守倾向的英法所讲究的是从市民社会发展而来的“文明”(civilization),但在反叛者看来,在戴着谦恭有礼和尊重国际法的虚伪面具下,仍是弱肉强食的丛林规则;而德国所推崇的“文化”(Kultur)则更偏向精神、道德与意志,按斯宾格勒的观点,那是生命进程或历史的基本现象,所有历史的文化象征都暗示着生命的形而上奥秘——这种带有神秘倾向的内在冲动,在英国的“文明人”看来则是非理性的、不守文明规范的。

在很大程度上,它也深受德国历史哲学的影响,带有浓厚的德国文化气息,那种从绘画、舞蹈等艺术类型切入来洞察时代精神变迁的手法,与斯宾格勒《西方的没落》如出一辙,也势必像前者一样饱受争议。不过显然,作者对“德国文化”也有其相对狭隘的界定——例如马克思主义这个同样主张斗争与解放的德国思潮,就并未包括在他的分析之中。对于政治人物那种诸如“维护德国人的感情”、“出于责任和荣誉”之类的说辞,他似乎也并未加以怀疑。从某种程度上说,这本《春之祭》本身的书写就像是沉醉在对复原那段历史的审美体验之中,那与其说是一段历史,不如说是一部歌剧。
ww1  deutsch  zeitgeist  art  book  war  uk  explained  civ  culture 
16 days ago by aries1988
Emilia Clarke, of “Game of Thrones,” on Surviving Two Life-Threatening Aneurysms

But I kept at it. In school productions, I played Anita in “West Side Story,” Abigail in “The Crucible,” one of the witches in “Macbeth,” Viola in “Twelfth Night.” After secondary school, I took a gap year, during which I worked as a waitress and went backpacking in Asia. Then I started classes at the Drama Centre London to pursue my B.A. As fledgling actors, we studied everything from “The Cherry Orchard” to “The Wire.” I didn’t get the ingénue parts. Those went to the tall, willowy, impossibly blond girls. I got cast as a Jewish mother in “Awake and Sing!” You should hear my Bronx accent.

In those days, I thought of myself as healthy. Sometimes I got a little light-headed, because I often had low blood pressure and a low heart rate. Once in a while, I’d get dizzy and pass out. When I was fourteen, I had a migraine that kept me in bed for a couple of days, and in drama school I’d collapse once in a while. But it all seemed manageable, part of the stress of being an actor and of life in general. Now I think that I might have been experiencing warning signs of what was to come.

I could hardly catch my breath. I went back to the hotel, where some people invited me to a party on the roof. “I think I’m good!” I told them. Instead, I went to my room, ate Oreos, watched “Friends,” and called everyone I knew.

The “Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss have said that Daenerys Targaryen is a blend of Napoleon, Joan of Arc, and Lawrence of Arabia.
GOT  tv  actor  story  hospital  death  struggle  growup  uk  health  acting  female  fame  success  girl  interview  job 
9 weeks ago by aries1988
DeepMind and Google: the battle to control artificial intelligence
Hassabis thought DeepMind would be a hybrid: it would have the drive of a startup, the brains of the greatest universities, and the deep pockets of one of the world’s most valuable companies. Every element was in place to hasten the arrival of AGI and solve the causes of human misery.

Demis Hassabis was born in north London in 1976 to a Greek-Cypriot father and a Chinese-Singaporean mother. He was the eldest of three siblings. His mother worked at John Lewis, a British department store, and his father ran a toy shop. He took up chess at the age of four, after watching his father and uncle play. Within weeks he was beating the grown-ups. By 13 he was the second-best chess player in the world for his age. At eight, he taught himself to code on a basic computer.

Hassabis officially founded DeepMind on November 15th 2010. The company’s mission statement was the same then as it is now: to “solve intelligence”, and then use it to solve everything else. As Hassabis told the Singularity Summit attendees, this means translating our understanding of how the brain accomplished tasks into software that could use the same methods to teach itself.

It’s an impressive demo. But Hassabis leaves a few things out. If the virtual paddle were moved even fractionally higher, the program would fail. The skill learned by DeepMind’s program is so restricted that it cannot react even to tiny changes to the environment that a person would take in their stride – at least not without thousands more rounds of reinforcement learning. But the world has jitter like this built into it. For diagnostic intelligence, no two bodily organs are ever the same. For mechanical intelligence, no two engines can be tuned in the same way. So releasing programs perfected in virtual space into the wild is fraught with difficulty.
google  ai  story  uk  game  startup  reportage 
12 weeks ago by aries1988
克里米亚战争:地缘与信仰的千年之战
19世纪时,欧洲的基督教国家与信奉伊斯兰教的奥斯曼帝国已经打了几百年的仗,是不共戴天的仇敌。然而在这场战争中,天主教国家法国和奥地利,联合新教国家英国,与信奉伊斯兰教的奥斯曼帝国携手,共同对抗东正教国家俄罗斯,这在过去是难以想象的。俄罗斯一直以东正教领袖自居,认为自己拥有上天赋予的神圣宗教使命,要把巴尔干地区同样信奉东正教的斯拉夫人从奥斯曼帝国手中“解放”出来。而在欧洲列强看来,虽然同属基督教家庭,一个野蛮、不开化、具有扩张性的俄罗斯所带来的威胁,甚至超过了已是奄奄一息的奥斯曼帝国。
origin  war  russia  uk  france  ukraine  medical 
january 2019 by aries1988
British Political Chaos, Explained for Chrissy Teigen (and for Americans in General)
This is not to say that polarization is good, but the non-polarization of this issue, and the composition of party politics, has paralyzed both parties on the matter. And both parties are internally fractured on what to do, making it even harder for either to act.

When you talk to people here, whether they support Brexit or oppose it, they tend to evince a decidedly un-British optimism about what leaving the European Union will mean. Often, it seems to begin with the assumption that Britain is still a great power, that the world needs Britain more than Britain needs the world.
uk  politics  usa  democracy  crisis  2018 
december 2018 by aries1988
The good war? - History Extra
Peter Hitchens challenges a number of popular beliefs about the Second World War
ww2  myth  historian  history  deutschland  uk  leader  opinion 
november 2018 by aries1988
What did the Anglo-Saxons ever do for us?

But the English never forgot 1066. Nor of course did the Welsh and, later, the Irish (the centuries-long assault on their culture began with an Anglo-Norman invasion in the 1170s). The Normans bequeathed wounds yet to heal. Even in the 21st century, we are trying to negotiate the legacy of these events: in Scottish and Welsh independence movements, and in the Irish border question. As the historian Eric John wrote in the 20th century: “It was the Anglo-Saxons who made England, the Normans who attempted to make Great Britain. And as yet they have not succeeded so well.”
history  england  uk  nation 
november 2018 by aries1988
The end of the First World War - History Extra
As we approach the centenary of the armistice, Gary Sheffield explores the final moments of the conflict that devastated the world for four and a half years
ww1  comparison  deutschland  uk  france  war  why 
november 2018 by aries1988
黄宇和:21世纪初西方鸦片战争研究反映的重大问题-中国社会科学网
根深蒂固的西方偏见之一,是英国人坚称其发动鸦片战争是正义的,所持理由是扫除广东十三行强加于外国商人的种种极度苛刻的通商条件与限制,近乎于种族歧视。

盖尔伯把其研究第一次鸦片战争的心得,归纳如下:
从英国的政治角度看,1840—1842那场与中国的战争,并非一场鸦片战争,而只是区区一些地方性的小摩擦。英国坚决反抗那腐朽透顶,却高高在上而又狂妄无知的中国,坚决维护英王的尊严,坚决保护英国男女的性命安全,坚决追偿被中国政府抢夺了的财物。没有任何一个伦敦人,也没有任何一个带兵攻打中国的军官,会认为该场战争与鸦片有任何关系。若中国人有本领堵塞鸦片走私,就让他们大显身手吧,英军则绝对不会代劳。那场战争,打起来不费吹灰之力;却后患无穷,盖数十年后,传教士目睹中国的苦难,悲天悯人,错误地怪罪英国把鸦片强加于中国,才改变了英美舆论。

他进一步阐明其理论说:“鸦片在中国以外的地方,包括英国和印度,都是合法的,单单在中国不合法。结果在中国,不但成千上万的中国商人与黑帮,疯狂地走私鸦片;就连最上层的高官,也染指其中。”
opinion  qing  uk  war  west  narrative 
october 2018 by aries1988
英国汉学家蓝诗玲:很多英国人对鸦片战争深感内疚-文化读书频道-手机搜狐
由于“黄祸论”,中国人移民到英国、美国和法国,要面对太过残酷的种族主义。想了解这种气氛,可以看老舍在1920年代写的《二马》。老舍还可以写得更极端一些。对于在英国的中国人,那个时候确实很残酷、很困难。

鸦片战争是很可能引起争议的主题。我每次出书,没法做到权威,但要按个人能力尽量去了解。写作一本书,你才真正开始处理对某一历史事件的理解。虽然不可能完美,但还是稍微有一点点进步。我想尽量做到的,是不要把这场战争写得太情绪化。虽然冷静很困难,但历史学家应该尽量客观。关键在于,历史学家能不能看大量第一手资料,然后把意思反馈或表达给读者们,让读者自己去处理内部的矛盾。中国人在鸦片战争中是受害者。这场战争的后果太严重了,必须尽量了解战争的意义或脉络。
interview  uk  book  war  qing 
october 2018 by aries1988
英国人为什么对鸦片战争避而不谈?_文化课_澎湃新闻-The Paper
有一位评论我这本书的英国学者提出了这么一个问题,为什么鸦片贸易会被大多英国人遗忘,而奴隶贸易却会被记住?这位学者猜想是否因为奴隶贸易是以“主动废除”这种方式结束,但英国政府之所以放弃鸦片贸易,却是碍于外部压力。

我认为不存在绝对的“历史真相”,即便在中国或英国国内,国人对同一个历史事件也会有不同的理解与记忆。在“集体记忆”中,必然有许多人不同的“个人记忆”。在任何情况下,历史学家都不可能重建历史事件的全貌和复杂性,留下的史料也永远不会是完整的。
而在任何国家或文化里,历史叙事无一例外地被赋予了政治意义,对历史的解读也深深影响着统治者和政治家的立场合理性。
即便如此,历史学家依然有一个很重要的工作,就是尽可能挖掘第一手史料,从而提醒当代读者历史的复杂性,并鼓励读者重新对史料进行研读,以得出自己的结论。
interview  uk  war  qing  book  imperialism  education  chinese 
october 2018 by aries1988
Karl Marx, Yesterday and Today | The New Yorker

interpretation of his work made after his death by people like Karl Kautsky, who was his chief German-language exponent; Georgi Plekhanov, his chief Russian exponent; and, most influentially, Engels. It was thanks mainly to those writers that people started to refer to Marxism as “scientific socialism,” a phrase that sums up what was most frightening about twentieth-century Communism: the idea that human beings can be reëngineered in accordance with a theory that presents itself as a law of history. The word the twentieth century coined for that was totalitarianism.
politics  book  revolution  ideology  uk  19C  leader  communism  economy  capitalism  utopia 
october 2018 by aries1988
就士游 | 陈浩武:从启蒙运动到大革命——法国旅行手记(中)
英国历史上的“金雀花王朝”,亦称“安茹王朝”,因为金雀花王朝的首任国王亨利二世,正是安茹公爵的后裔。法国和英国在中世纪有着令人眼花缭乱的复杂关系,主要是由于联姻。


享利二世的重大贡献,是他对英国法律体系的创建,如巡回法庭制度和陪审员制度。我们今天所说的英美法系,或者称为海洋法系,正是亨利二世所创,其特点是尊重传统,充满保守主义理念。
angers  uk 
october 2018 by aries1988
A New Citizen Decides to Leave the Tumult of Trump’s America
Rebecca Mead on the wrenching choice, after decades in New York and securing U.S. citizenship, to return to Britain.
story  british  london  newyork  american  son  culture  uk  immigrant 
august 2018 by aries1988
The End of ‘Civilisation’
The new program is best understood as a kind of delayed rebuttal, sometimes quite explicit, to Clark and his view of history.

An example of his method was a book the gallery published called 100 Details from Pictures in the National Gallery. Clark wanted to draw the attention of untutored viewers to specific elements in each work and place them alongside similar details from other works, with the aim of building up knowledge and interest piece by piece, element by element.

There was no stinting on travel either. By the time they were through Clark and crew had visited 118 museums and 117 other locations in 11 countries.

It was television of an intensified kind, meant to seduce a mass audience.

An act or piece of art that is life-enhancing—that allows us to have life, and to have it more abundantly—is civilized; one that isn’t isn’t.

The Greco-Roman ideal, he says, was “without doubt the most extraordinary creation in the whole of history.” It was nearly lost with the sacking of Rome—by barbarians, did he mention?—in the 5th century and then barely survived the advance of Islam in the 8th. It lay dormant, tended by monks, until the millennium, when it began to manifest itself in a variety of ways in Europe.
civ  art  politics  debate  west  documentary  2018  1969  bbc  uk 
august 2018 by aries1988
Song Ma on Twitter
“去年在参观曼彻斯特“科学与工业博物馆” @msimanchester 时,从珍妮纺纱机一直看到罗尔斯罗伊斯飞机发动机,电力机车头和曼城大学研发的第一台电子计算机,突然意识到英国这个小岛有着完备工业体系,可以自己独立制造大部分重要民用和军用工业产品。不过好像也不足为奇,毕竟现代工业就是他们发明的。”
uk  idea  museum  travel  moi  manchester 
august 2018 by aries1988
What’s in my name: tales that cross continents and generations | Life and style | The Guardian

While I didn’t like the English aspect of my name, I was embarrassed by what that double “e” in Sheela symbolised – my own Indian-ness. I was embarrassed by my parents, our food, our language, cringing at the sound of them speaking Bengali to me in public. But as I grew up I began to shed the layers of stigma. I started hanging out with my Bengali friends in west London pubs. I went to college and studied African and Asian studies in the radicalised environment of Sussex University. I started looking back at the world in which I had grown up through a different lens.

Banerjees – upper-middle-class Bengalis – often became quite close to the British. They did business with them, were educated in their schooling system, and taught to speak English (like my father and my grandfather before him). My grandfather was the manager of a company which supplied porters and teashops to the British-owned railways. He remained a devout Hindu all his life, but the influence of the British filtered down to his son, my father, who grew up dreaming of coming to England.

The most significant aspect of my surname, however, is that in India it identifies where I belong in the Hindu caste system. My grandparents were devout Brahmins – the name Banerjee, along with others such as Mukherjee, Chatterjee and Bhattacharjee, signified that they belonged to the priestly class, the highest tier of the Bengali caste system. Their name and their whole way of life was an embodiment of this.

Even further back in time, being a Banerjee, a Brahmin, means that we must have been Aryan invaders who crossed mountains and rivers in central Asia, fought and pillaged our way through harsh terrain and subjugated the original inhabitants of India – the Dravidians.
india  name  story  uk  british 
july 2018 by aries1988
Mary Beard Takes On Her Sexist Detractors | The New Yorker

In “The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found” (2008), she points out that the ancient city lacked zoning regulations, which meant that a blacksmith’s noisy shop could lie on the other side of the wall from a wealthy family’s frescoed dining room. Her deductive observation from the presence of tartar on the teeth of skeletons—that Pompeii was a city of bad breath—is a typical Beardian turn.

Beard does not wear makeup and she doesn’t color her abundant gray hair. She dresses casually, with minor eccentricities: purple-rimmed spectacles, gold sneakers. She looks comfortable both in her skin and in her shoes—much more preoccupied with what she is saying than with how she looks as she is saying it.

She is a frequent contributor to Radio 4, the British equivalent of NPR, offering audio essays on subjects as varied as dementia, the four-minute mile, and academic testing.
bbc  female  culture  classic  university  intelligentsia  uk  history  roman 
june 2018 by aries1988
The Interpreter: A British crime drama bleeds into the real world
The researchers concluded that popular television shows’ portrayals of family life led to these changes by shifting public perceptions about the appropriate role of women.
Television isn’t new to Britain, of course. But in a world where media consumption is increasingly fragmented, popular shows are one of the few mass experiences left. That kind of shared understanding is rare, and it can be a powerful thing for politicians to take advantage of.
tv  africa  mentality  family  female  crime  uk  2018 
february 2018 by aries1988
Kazuo Ishiguro - Nobel Lecture: My Twentieth Century Evening – and Other Small Breakthroughs
As the only foreign boy in the neighbourhood, a kind of local fame followed me around. Other children knew who I was before I met them. Adults who were total strangers to me sometimes addressed me by name in the street or in the local store.

When I look back to this period, and remember it was less than twenty years from the end of a world war in which the Japanese had been their bitter enemies, I'm amazed by the openness and instinctive generosity with which our family was accepted by this ordinary English community. The affection, respect and curiosity I retain to this day for that generation of Britons who came through the Second World War, and built a remarkable new welfare state in its aftermath, derive significantly from my personal experiences from those years.
japan  immigration  gaijin  story  childhood  children  uk  literature  writer  memory  politics  today  world  human  future  manifesto 
february 2018 by aries1988
Apple and Shazam sing the same tune
The core audio-recognition software itself was created in Silicon Valley by Avery Wang, a specialist in digital signal processing with a PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

Mr Wang was sitting in a café in Palo Alto in 2000 when he came up with the breakthrough technique for identifying a song from recordings, even with low-quality phone microphones and background noise. 

His original patent, filed in 2001 jointly with his Stanford professor Julius Smith, for a “system and methods for recognising sound and music signals in high noise and distortion” remains a foundational part of Shazam’s technology and intellectual property portfolio. 

Mr Wang is the only one of Shazam’s four co-founders still working at the company. After he joins Apple, along with the rest of Shazam’s research and development team in Silicon Valley’s Redwood City, the iPhone maker will have fresh capabilities not only in music identification but the ability to recognise a wide range of audio signals, from TV and movies to the sound of people laughing or clapping.

“Apple isn’t buying Shazam for music. Instead, Shazam is an augmented-reality play,” Neil Cybart, an Apple analyst, said in his Above Avalon email newsletter on Monday.

US companies, he adds, have been more successful at commercialisation and scaling up a new technology than their British counterparts. “What we are really good at in this country is innovation and creativity. We should try to play to our strengths and be willing to partner or sell out to US companies.”
usa  uk  music  innovation  app  mobile  2017  apple  technology 
december 2017 by aries1988
12-year-old prodigy Alma Deutscher on homeschooling and Mozart

she is proudly out of step with the iGeneration. Lots of children spend all the time on video games, I don’t like that at all. I don’t have a phone or computer or anything, I just read a lot, she says, listing Philippa Pearce, Joan Aiken and Shannon Hale as some of her favourite authors. I don’t really know what they do — Minecraft or whatever — some of my friends do that but I think it’s a complete waste of time and it ruins your brain as well because you can’t imagine anything for yourself.
prodigy  piano  music  uk  reading  loisir  interview  teenager 
december 2017 by aries1988
‘We will all be dust soon’: Sherlock’s Mark Gatiss on death, despair and drama
He’s watched by millions, so why does the actor and writer feel a loser in today’s culture war?
interview  uk  culture  2017  tv  actor  bio  british 
november 2017 by aries1988
你真想在大英博物馆谈笑风扔,这 1100 页书还能挡得住你?

站在泰晤士河边远眺当年并没给炸上天的国会大厦时,要记得这个西半球北部的蕞尔岛国曾经并且依然多么深刻地影响着我们中国人的生活方式与一部分中国人的阅读方式与一小部分中国人的思考方式。
uk  british  manifesto  intelligentsia  chinese  loveletter 
november 2017 by aries1988
Fermented food may be good for your gut, but does it taste good?

Anything that has undergone a form of chemical breakdown by bacteria, yeast or other microbes — from blue cheese to sourdough bread — is fermented.

To ferment, a food needs to be put in an airless environment (a sealed jar filled with liquid, for example) in which microbes are encouraged to feed off its natural sugars. The result is an acid that both kills off harmful bacteria and transforms the original food. Put cabbage in brine and the result is soft, tart sauerkraut. Ferment soy beans, as they do at Flat Three, and the result tastes a bit like a raisin.

Booth, who dedicated a chapter of his book, The Meaning of Rice, to the mould koji, calls the Japanese the kings of fermented foods. Miso soup is my go-to hangover cure, he says. I am totally convinced of the benefits of naturally fermented foods and I do think it is one of the reasons why the traditional Japanese diet is so good for you.
trend  food  restaurant  uk  asia  japanese  korean  innovation  health  body  microbe  fermentation 
november 2017 by aries1988
Judith Kerr on refugees, Hitler and ‘The Tiger Who Came To Tea’

We loved the change, the interest of different places, and learning a language. I think the language is a huge thing because something that appears impossible, suddenly you find you’ve done it. I loved the brevity of French after the endless sentences in German. In 1935, two years after arriving in Paris speaking no French, she and her brother finished top in French in the final exams, she writes.
children  book  writing  writer  uk  ww2  nazi  kid  memory  refugee  france 
october 2017 by aries1988
Kazuo Ishiguro wins Nobel Literature Prize
The British writer is known for novels including The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go.
2017  writer  japanese  uk  movie 
october 2017 by aries1988
Why has England lost its medieval taste for violence? | Aeon Essays
England’s experience seems to have been mirrored by developments in Scandinavia, what is now the Netherlands and Belgium, and northern Germany, suggesting that the decline of homicide in England was part of a northern-European phenomenon whose causes remain in large measure conjectural, but that must be related to broad cultural shifts interacting with processes of state formation.

the 600th anniversary of the affair in 1955, when the University of Oxford granted the city’s mayor an honorary degree, and Oxford made the vice chancellor of the university an honorary freeman of the city. It was perhaps fitting that this act of closure for an episode of medieval mayhem came in the 1950s, now widely regarded as the most stable and non-violent decade in recent British history.
history  violence  uk 
october 2017 by aries1988
The Anglo-Saxon is not American or British but a French alter-ego – Emile Chabal | Aeon Essays

when the French refer to ‘the Anglo-Saxon’ or use the term as an adjective, they are usually talking about themselves. The Anglo-Saxon is a mirror on Frenchness; it is France’s alter-ego and often its most feared enemy.

It was only in the 1860s that a new meaning began to appear in the wake of Napoleon III’s abortive attempts to extend the French empire into Latin America. In learned publications such as the Revue des races latines, founded in 1857, ‘Anglo-Saxonism’ was juxtaposed with ‘Latinity’ in an attempt to place France at the heart of a global Latin world that stretched from South America and the Caribbean to Madrid and Paris.

As has been the case ever since, the French both feared and admired the Anglo-Saxon at the turn of the 19th-century – and they used it as a vehicle for discussing their own national anxieties.

At times, English speakers can even fall into the same trap as their French counterparts when they lazily describe an idea or a way of thinking as ‘Anglo-American’ or ‘Atlantic’.
français  concept  uk  american  english  culture  identity  history  origin  instapaper_favs 
september 2017 by aries1988
'You should consider our feelings': for Chinese students the state is an extension of family | Merriden Varrall

What is immediately notable is that while the student is not satisfied with his teacher’s position, he does not even attempt to deploy what he may consider to be relevant facts or rational counter-arguments to support his own case. He is not trying to draw on his understanding of history, or setting out what he might see to be the relevant details of the arrangements that currently influence the relationship between the mainland and the island.

This tendency to be easily offended taps into the narrative of “national humiliation” which many Chinese subscribe to – the idea that the outside world deliberately carved China up during the opium wars of the mid-1800s, leaving it weak and vulnerable. President Xi Jinping’s “China Dream” of rejuvenation is a direct response to this view.

Some Chinese people have explained to me that the tendency to take offence when an outsider comments on China in a way they perceive as a criticism stems from the idea the country and the family are conceptually conflated such that they are understood as deserving equal loyalty.

Officially, the status of Taiwan is a “core interest” for China. That is to say, most Chinese consider the idea that Taiwan is an indisputable part of China is sacrosanct. They learn it at school, and in almost everything they see and hear as they grow up. To them, Taiwan is a family member; that is why discussions about its sovereignty tend to be emotional. Many Chinese students find it difficult to articulate why they feel the way they do about Taiwan – particularly because they have not had much training in debating or critically arguing a point. And they find it impossible to fathom that foreigners cannot understand their position on Taiwan.
chinese  young  uk  student  gaijin  conflict  emotion  explained  education  taiwan  reflex  university  mentality  instapaper_favs 
september 2017 by aries1988
India and Pakistan are still paying for a botched partition
No help was at hand — at that point, the UN was still some years away from defining what constituted refugee status. Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims, who had lived side by side for years, slaughtered each other. Partition is estimated to have cost up to a million lives; the tragedy created at least 11m refugees.

If only wiser and cooler heads had prevailed 70 years ago, partition would have been avoided. It has proved a catastrophe — in lives lost, the millions wasted in military confrontation, not to mention the collective exhaustion induced by decades of mutual antipathy. The architects of this disaster imagined, rather naively, a peaceful coexistence rather than today’s deadly rivalry. Pakistan’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, dreamt of a secular state, a far cry from the Islamic and sectarian nation that exists today. India’s leader, Jawaharlal Nehru, envisioned a pluralist and tolerant India, rather than the Hindu nationalist fantasies gripping parts of the country today.
pakistan  india  history  uk  nation  story 
august 2017 by aries1988
Back on his pedestal: the return of Friedrich Engels

Finally they came to Mala Pereshchepina, where the local authorities were only too glad to get rid of what was by now a legally toxic artefact.

The artist’s timing is impeccable. June’s UK general election saw a surge of support for the Labour party led by the far-left Jeremy Corbyn. Like Bernie Sanders in last year’s US Democratic primaries, this ageing socialist appealed first of all to the young.

Even now, when — for all the excesses of capitalism — the stark exploitation Engels evoked has disappeared in the western world, The Condition of the Working Class is an uncomfortable read. The homelessness of the rising generation; the precariousness of freelance work; the feared mass unemployment once artificial replaces human intelligence; the long, spiky tail of the banking collapse of 2008; the end of the postwar expectation that children will ascend further and richer than their parents — these are plausibly presented by the left as a 21st-century equivalent of the Condition of the Working, and even Middle Class of England, and the rest of the capitalist world.

It’s the only building left where Engels definitely was. He worked with Marx at a table, still there, with the books they both used. When I take Chinese visitors to see it, some of them cry.
uk  politics  communist  leader  thinking  russia  today  sculpture  economy  crisis  history  art  manchest  artist 
july 2017 by aries1988
TV : « Le Génie des lieux : l’ENS, l’école de l’engagement »
Notre choix du soir. Dans une passionnante série documentaire, Antoine de Gaudemar nous ouvre les portes de trois temples du savoir européens (sur Arte à 0 h 00)
arte  tv  documentary  france  uk  swiss  university  education  spirit  comparison  elite 
july 2017 by aries1988
How to tackle terrorism, by Oxford university’s vice-chancellor
Richardson’s insight into the terrorist mindset goes well beyond academic expertise. As a teenager, she was a Republican sympathiser, attending meetings and adopting Gaelic as her first language. She “would have joined the IRA in a heartbeat”, she confessed in her 2006 book What Terrorists Want. Her sympathies were the result of growing up in rural Ireland where a Republican version of history was taught, which she questioned when she learnt a different version at Trinity College, Dublin.

Education is the best form of counteracting extremism, she says. She is not in favour of the “safe spaces” that have crept into UK universities. Students should be exposed to extreme views, even those of radical imams, in a space where orthodoxies can be challenged. “We are educating students to go into the real world where you are not protected from views you don’t like.”
education  home  interview  university  uk  terrorism 
july 2017 by aries1988
That’s the Way it Crumbles by Matthew Engel — the conquest of English
Words not indigenous to these shores subsequently flooded in, “like the beetle that killed Britain’s elm trees”. Now American words “are in danger of taking over” — and Engel’s comprehensive list includes cans (tins), goose bumps (goose pimples), autopsy (post-mortem), cars (railway carriages), fries (chips), cookies (biscuits), short pants (short trousers) and baggage (luggage).

We “testify” in court, where it used to be called “giving evidence”. People who should know better want employees who “think outside the box” and “push the envelope”. They talk about being mad when they mean angry, or of fighting when they mean having a verbal argument.
english  book  american  uk  culture  vocabulary  comparison  british 
june 2017 by aries1988
“大英博物馆100件文物中的世界史”参考书目
1. (美)威廉·麦克尼尔:《西方的兴起:人类共同体史》,中信出版社,2015年。
2. (美)威廉·麦克尼尔:《世界史:从史前到21世纪》,中信出版社,2013年。
3. (美)威廉·麦克尼尔:《人类之网:鸟瞰世界历史》,北京大学出版社,2011年。
4. (美)杰里·本特利、赫伯特·齐格勒:《新全球史:文明的传承与交流》,北京大学出版社,2014年。
5. (以)尤瓦尔·赫拉利:《人类简史》,中信出版社,2014年。
6. (美)贾雷德·戴蒙德:《枪炮、细菌与钢铁:人类社会的命运》,上海译文,2006年。
7. (美)J.M.罗伯茨:《全球史》,东方出版中心,2013年。
8. (美)杰克·哥德斯通:《为什么是欧洲:世界史视角下的西方崛起》,浙江大学出版社,2010年。
9. (美)芮乐伟·韩森:《丝绸之路新史》,北京联合出版公司,2015年。
10. (日)山杉正明:《游牧民的世界史》,中华工商联合出版社,2014年。
11. (日)盐野七生:《罗马灭亡后的地中海世界》,中信出版社,2014年。
12. (美)小约翰·威尔斯:《1688年:当中国走向世界》,,新世界出版社,2013年。
13. (德)贡得·弗兰克:《白银资本:重视经济全球化中的东方》,中央编译出版社,2008年。
14. (瑞士)布克哈特:《意大利文艺复兴时期的文化》,商务印书馆
15. (英)彼得·伯克:《意大利文艺复兴时期的文化与社会》,东方出版社,2007年。
17. (英)伊芙琳·韦尔奇:《文艺复兴时期的意大利艺术》,上海人民出版社,2014年。
18. (澳)安东尼·瑞德:《东南亚的贸易时代:1450——1680》,商务印书馆,2010年。
19. (意)弗兰切斯卡·罗曼那·罗马尼:《伊斯兰:阿拉伯文明之光》,河北教育出版社,2013年。
20. (美)菲利普·希提:《阿拉伯通史》,新世界出版社,2015。
21. (英)伯纳德·刘易斯:《穆斯林发现欧洲》,三联书店,2013年。
22. (美)彼得·盖伊:《启蒙时代》(上下册),上海人民出版社,2015年。
23. (美)布莱恩·费根:《世界史前史》,世界图书出版公司,2011年。
24. (英)安德鲁·罗宾逊:《唤醒沉睡的文字》,北京大学出版社,2014年。
25. (英)罗杰·克劳利:《1453:君士坦丁堡之战》,社会科学文献出版社,2014年。
26. (英)罗杰·克劳利:《海洋帝国:地中海大决战》,社会科学文献出版社,2014年。
27. (英)罗杰·克劳利:《财富之城:威尼斯的海洋霸权》,社会科学文献出版社,2015年。
28. (英)罗杰·克劳利:《征服者:葡萄牙帝国的崛起》,社会科学文献出版社,2016年。
29. (英)艾伦·麦克法兰、艾丽丝·麦克法兰:《绿色黄金:茶叶帝国》,社会科学文献出版社,2016年。
30. (日)浅田实:《东印度公司:巨额商业资本之兴衰》,社会科学文献出版社,2016年。
31. (美)萨拉·罗斯:《茶叶大盗:改变世界史的中国茶》,社会科学文献出版社,2015年。
32. (英)迈克·达什:《郁金香热》,社会科学文献出版社,2015年。
33. (意)康马泰:《唐风吹拂撒马尔罕:粟特艺术与中国、波斯、印度、拜占庭》,漓江出版社,2016年。
34. (美)薛爱华:《撒马尔罕的金桃:唐代舶来品研究》,社会科学文献出版社,2016年。
35. 荣新疆:《中古中国与外来文明》,社会科学文献出版社,2016年。
36. 向达:《唐代长安与西域文明》,商务印书馆,2015年。
37.尚永琪:《莲花上的狮子:内陆欧亚的物种、图像与传说》,商务印书馆,2014年。
38. (美)狄宇宙:《古代中国与其强邻:东亚历史上游牧力量的兴起》,中国社会科学出版社,2010年。
39. (英)彼得·弗兰科潘:《丝绸之路:一部全新的世界史》,浙江大学出版社,2016年。
40. (英)西蒙·蒙蒂菲奥里:《耶路撒冷三千年》,民主与建设出版社,2015年。
41. (美)伊曼纽尔·沃勒斯坦:《现代世界体系》(四卷本),社会科学文献出版社,2013年。
42. (英)苏珊·拉·尼斯:《金子:一部社会史》,北京大学出版社,2016年。
43. (英)菲利帕·梅丽曼:《银子:一部生活史》,北京大学出版社,2016年。
44. 李伯重:《火枪与账簿:早期经济全球化时代的中国与东亚世界》,生活·读书·新知三联书店,2017年。
45. (加)卜正民:《梅维尔的帽子:从一幅画看全球化贸易的兴起》,文汇出版社,2010年。
46. (美)西敏司:《饮食人类学:漫话餐桌上的权力和影响力》,电子工业出版社,2015年。
47. (美)杰弗里·皮尔彻:《世界历史上的食物》,商务印书馆,2015年。
48. (澳)杰克·特纳:《香料传奇:一部由诱惑衍生的历史》,生活·读书·新知三联书店,2015年。
49. (英)尼古拉斯·奥斯特勒:《语言帝国:世界语言史》,上海人民出版社,2016年。
50. (新西兰)斯蒂文·罗杰·费希尔:《书写的历史》,中央编译出版社,2012年。
51. (加)布鲁斯·G·崔格尔:《理解早期文明:比较研究》,北京大学出版社,2014年。
52. (美)吉尔·鲁巴尔卡巴:《玛雅诸帝国》,商务印书馆,2015年。
53. (美)乔治·C·瓦伦特:《阿兹特克文明》,译林出版社,2014年。
54. (秘鲁)印卡·加尔西拉索:《印卡王室述评》,商务印书馆,1993年。
55. (美)普雷斯科特:《秘鲁征服史》,商务印书馆,1996年。
56. (美)戴尔·布朗 主编:《非洲辉煌的历史遗产》,华夏出版社、广西人民出版社,2002年。
57. (美)芭芭拉·萨默维尔:《古代美索不达米亚诸帝国》,商务印书馆,2015年。
58. (美)约翰·D·霍格:《伊斯兰建筑》,中国建筑工业出版社,1999年。
59. (土耳其)悉纳·阿克辛:《土耳其的崛起:1789至今》,社会科学文献出版社,2016年。
60. (德)于尔根·奥斯特哈默:《世界的演变:19世纪史》,社会科学文献出版社,2016年。
61. (美)林恩·V·福斯特:《古代玛雅社会生活》,商务印书馆,2016年。
62. (美)斯蒂芬·伯特曼:《古代美索不达米亚社会生活》,商务印书馆,2016年。
63. (美)雅克·巴尔赞:《从黎明到衰落——西方文化生活五百年,从1500年至今》,中信出版社,2013年。
64. (美)米尔恰·伊利亚德:《宗教思想史》,上海社会科学院出版社,2004年。
65. (英)尼尔·麦格雷戈:《大英博物馆世界简史》,新星出版社,2014年。
list  book  history  museum  beijing  uk  chnmuseum 
february 2017 by aries1988
Peace and prosperity: it is worth saving the liberal order
The system established after 1945 was built on US power. But it endured and, after the end of the cold war, expanded because US leadership was embedded in multilateral rules and institutions. Everyone had a stake. Washington sometimes over-reached — in Vietnam or with the invasion of Iraq. By history’s standards, however, the Pax Americana was essentially benign, resting as much on the force of example as military might.
history  uk  world  order  crisis  challenge  china  populism  brexit  nostalgia  immigration  society  politics 
february 2017 by aries1988
How Japanese food is revolutionising the way we eat | How To Spend It
The vogue in the food world for all things Japanese, though, is not restricted simply to Japanese chefs cooking French food. When you can find a sushi bar on every street corner, yuzu juice in supermarkets, wagyu beef in steak restaurants and sake being sniffed and swirled as seriously as wine, even in non-Japanese restaurants, something is clearly afoot.

Miso is loaded with umami, the so-called “fifth taste”. It is a word chefs have bandied around freely for a while and it is now gaining currency among the general public. Originally isolated and described in 1908, it is a sort of savoury, meaty quality in food that can be detected on the palate, along with saltiness, bitterness, sourness and sweetness.

Western cuisine has always contained umami – roast beef, anchovies, Parmesan, tomatoes and mushrooms all contain the glutamates responsible for umami – but it is only recently that European cooks have given it the same status as the four other basic tastes.
uk  story  entrepreneurial  japanese  cuisine  fruit  food  local 
february 2017 by aries1988
Why are schools in China looking west for lessons in creativity?
https://www.instapaper.com/read/861489846

Asia is the fastest-growing market in the global private tuition industry, which is forecast by Global Industry Analysts to be worth nearly $200bn by 2020. Students in Shanghai also spend almost 14 hours a week on homework, close to three times the average given by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Initially, the class was very shy: silent unless instructed to be otherwise, they were especially anxious when they had to perform individually.

one of the mainstays of drama classes in the west is the notion that mistakes are OK, as long as you are trying things out — an idea about as far away as you can get from Chinese educational principles.

One teacher was astonished to learn that in the UK studying history might involve assessing the rule of various monarchs; here, where history teaching means imparting facts, such evaluations are all but unimaginable, if not dangerously dissident.
comparison  chinese  education  uk  art  creativity  pisa  numbers  instapaper_favs 
february 2017 by aries1988
La compétition mondiale des universités
La rivalité entre grandes universités existe depuis le Moyen Age en Europe. Devenue planétaire, elle est dominée par les grandes institutions américaines et britanniques à la pointe de l'innovation, assurant le capital humain qui contribue à la croissance. Quels enjeux et quel rôle des [...]
comparison  français  uk  usa  education  university  numbers  policy  opinion  research  student  chinese  ranking 
january 2017 by aries1988
SuperGroup - Wikipedia
The company's products include frequently meaningless excerpts of Japanese text, inspired by the common Japanese practice of placing decorative English text on items to increase their fashionability and appeal, a phenomenon known as Engrish. The company explained to a Japanese television crew in 2011 that they deliberately use simple machine translation to generate Japanese text, and that they are aware that the texts often have no meaning.[12] The Japanese text incorporated in the brand's logo—極度乾燥(しなさい) (kyokudo kansō (shinasai)?)—literally translates as "Extreme dry (Do it)", the text in brackets being due to the translation software used offering alternatives depending on whether dry is intended as a noun (e.g., super dryness) or an imperative, (e.g., dry this shirt out).[13]
fun  marketing  brand  uk  japan 
january 2017 by aries1988
Eton and the making of a modern elite | 1843

Eton is, as the headmaster puts it, unashamed in its pursuit of excellence. The school aims to educate the elite, as it always has, but it has reshaped itself in order to accommodate a new elite defined by money, brains and ambition, not pedigree, titles and acres.

The percentage of pupils at the school with an OE father went down from 60% in 1960 to 33% in 1994 to 20% now. Eton has gone from being an heirloom handed down through the generations to a revolving door.

The contest isn’t simply between candidates. It’s a battle of wits between a school whose proclaimed intention is to identify deserving talent and ambition, and parents who will do everything to stack things in their child’s favour. Well-off, well-organised parents prepare their sons ruthlessly, hiring tutors, making the boys do ceaseless verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests and sending them to interview classes to learn how to be sparky and empathetic. The school is wise to these constantly evolving efforts to game the system, however, and a lot of boys who have done brilliantly in the computerised test are turned down because they aren’t interesting at inter­view. If a boy makes me laugh, says one of the school’s interviewers, he stands a good chance of getting in.

The story of Eton’s reconquest of the commanding heights of Britain is one of gradual rehabilitation. With the weakening of the hard left, the prospect of private schools being abolished receded, while Eton’s efforts to present itself less as a throwback to an earlier age than a guarantor of achievement in the current one began to pay dividends.

If Eton hasn’t quite become the liberal, socially transformative institution the reformists seek, it is undeniably more discerning in allocating one of the best starts in life that money (or brains, or ambition) can get you.
uk  education  school  boy  elite  reform  system 
december 2016 by aries1988
FT correspondent James Crabtree on bringing up a baby in Mumbai

For the next two years I wrote happily about Indian business for the FT while we travelled avidly at weekends, from skiing in the Himalayas to tiger safaris in Madhya Pradesh.

Walking through an Indian airport with my son is perhaps the closest I will come to celebrity, as heads turned to watch the baby, and strangers approached, embarrassed and smiling, asking for selfies.

Back at home, we learnt the benefits of being parents in India, not least the plentiful childcare. There was even the unheard of option of night nurses, women who stay through the night to help look after the baby, allowing parents to rest. We turned that down, thinking we should learn the hard way, perplexing Indian friends. Others seemed confused that we put Alexander to bed at the primly European hour of 7pm, while many Indian babies head off to sleep rather closer to midnight.

It is often said that India is a land of contrasts, but few are more jarring than that between the grim conditions in which many children live and the profoundly child-loving culture in the country as a whole.

I hope Alexander comes to enjoy his secret Indian middle name. And even if he does not, I will remember fondly how he came to have it, and even more so the country that welcomed him into the world.

Charming colonial architecture
story  children  parenting  india  expat  uk  travel  name  tradition  culture 
november 2016 by aries1988
资本主义是怎么诞生的?历史社会学家这么说 | 政见 CNPolitics.org

为了回答这个问题,二十世纪中后期的一大波研究转而强调农业生产力发展的作用。在这批学者看来,十八世纪英国的特殊性不在于城市工商业精英的活跃,而在于农业生产力出现了质的飞跃。一方面,农业生产力发展解放了大量剩余劳动力;另一方面,农业生产创造了大量价值,这些价值进一步转化为工商业投资,这才有了工业革命。

彭慕兰给出了一个“资源决定论”的解释:将英国和中国区分开的关键因素是自然资源。英国在十八世纪发现了大量容易开采、运输的煤炭,同时美洲殖民地也向英国源源不断输送各种资源,这才使得英国在经济发展中占据关键优势。

孔诰烽认为,资本主义要想兴起,农业生产力的发达确实是必要的,但这只是必要条件之一。相对独立而活跃的城市工商业精英阶层,是另一个必要条件。农业发达、工商业精英活跃,这两个条件缺一不可。在孔诰烽看来,这一分析框架,能很好地解释英国、中国和日本在发展轨迹上的差异。

清代中后期的一个普遍趋势是,商人发家致富之后,往往热衷于办学校、鼓励子孙后代考科举、在农村购置地产。大量的商人家庭致力于转型成为吃俸禄的官僚阶层或者吃地租的士绅地主阶层,愿意代代经商的少之又少——这种现象在徽商群体中尤其突出。这一现象造成的结果是,虽然不断有平民通过经商致富,但商业资本无法一代一代地积累起来,也无法持续转化为工商业投资,而是最终“转回”到农业中。

孔诰烽指出,政府在处理城市阶级矛盾时倾向底层的立场,是导致工商业精英更愿意放弃经商、积极向官僚和地主士绅转型的重要因素。而工商业精英普遍热衷于向官僚和地主士绅转型,使得十八世纪的中国不存在真正独立而活跃的城市工商业精英阶层,也就无法将农业产出有效转化为自我增殖的工商业资本。

这样看来,明治维新之后的日本之所以能走上资本主义的发展道路,是因为政府通过繁重的农业税负将农业产出集中起来、进行工商业投资,在此过程中培育出相对活跃的城市工商业精英阶层。这个由国家“制造”的工商业精英,成为了日本迈向资本主义的关键。

针对孔诰烽的观点,另一位历史社会学家Mark Cohen提出了不同意见。在2015年发表于《美国社会学评论》的研究中,Cohen指出,要想真正弄清楚资本主义是如何到来的,就必须对前资本主义经济体的运行模式有更加透彻的理解。

在Cohen看来,前资本主义经济体的特征可以总结为两个基本要素。第一,农业生产是最为主要的生产活动,而作为农业生产直接参与者的农民,基本上是自给自足的——他们通过自己的生产来满足各种物质需要,基本不依赖于市场交换。第二,精英群体的收入来源是从农民那里掠夺他们农业产出的一部分,而这种掠夺主要通过政治手段完成——精英们的“掠夺权”来自于他们的政治地位或者手中所掌握的暴力工具,他们本身不直接介入农业生产。

前资本主义经济体中出现繁荣的商业并不奇怪,但这种商业有着特定的政治经济基础。随着农业生产力发展,政治精英们从农民手中掠夺的财富越来越多,他们的消费需求也越来越旺盛。前资本主义经济体中之所以出现商业,本质上是为了满足这些政治精英的消费需求,因为广大农民自给自足、基本上没有市场消费需求。

前资本主义经济体中的商业不可能一直繁荣,商人群体和商业财富也不可能通过工商业投资而持续扩大生产规模和市场贸易规模。(中国:科举+政治环境不稳定+私有财产保护法律欠缺)导致家族财产继承甚至不能得到保障)某种程度上说,转型成握有政治权力、靠掠夺农民为生的精英士绅阶层,根本就是商人群体所能选择的最为保险的长期策略。在Cohen看来,这是前资本主义经济体的普遍现象。

从Cohen的理论框架看,“活跃的城市工商业精英”本身并不是历史变革的逻辑起点,而只是一种更深层变革的表面现象。

在满足了“农业生产力持续发展”的物质条件之后,资本主义转型的核心问题,不在于城市工商业精英是否活跃,而在于这个倚仗政治权力的、不直接参与农业生产的、纯靠吃地租等方式掠夺农业产出的传统精英阶层——这个前资本主义经济体中最为关键的行动者群体——能否被消灭。

更深层的变革,便是打破前资本主义社会中“自给自足的小农——掠夺农民的精英”这个二元格局。只要这个二元格局不被打破,“活跃的城市工商业精英”就不可能出现。

历史社会学家Vivek Chibber指出,在十七世纪早期之前,英国的主要农业生产方式就已经变成了由土地所有者直接组织雇佣工人进行生产、通过市场交易将产出变为利润的“类资本主义”方式,“自给自足的小农——掠夺农民的精英”二元格局已不复存在。

Cohen, M. (2015). Historical sociology’s puzzle of the missing transitions: A case study of early modern Japan. American Sociological Review, 80(3), 603-625.
Hung, H. F. (2008). Agricultural revolution and elite reproduction in Qing China: The transition to capitalism debate revisited. American Sociological Review, 73(4), 569-588.
sociology  modern  history  uk  china  japan  debate  theory  economy  development  comparison 
october 2016 by aries1988
The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla review — ‘the default is always white’
September 23, 2016 by: Arifa Akbar The idea behind this collection of essays by black, Asian and minority ethnic writers came out of the absence of BAME voices…
book  gaijin  uk 
september 2016 by aries1988
Jason Bourne vs James Bond
Matt Damon, the 45-year-old actor who plays him, summed up the difference between the two men in a recent interview. “Bond is a misogynist who likes swilling martinis and killing people and then telling jokes about it. Jason Bourne is a serial monogamist — he’s tortured by the things he’s done and feels empathy and compassion for other people. And Bourne would obviously win in a fight!” Obviously.
essay  movie  hero  masculine  comparison  uk  usa  spy  female 
september 2016 by aries1988
Staunch secularist entrusted to quell France’s row over Islam - FT.com
France will never be like the UK or the US, Mr Chevènement notes. No ‘In God we trust’ on our banknotes, he says. Female police officers wearing headscarves are totally out of the question.

The British and the Americans accept that everybody lives separately according to their own ways. Those communities have gained the right to sort their own affairs, he notes. We believe that citizens should contribute to the common interest by favouring reason and not the display of faith … We are trying to balance freedom and equality.
france  muslim  comparison  uk  government  laicite 
september 2016 by aries1988
Why Singapore’s kids are so good at maths

Aiming to move away from simple rote-learning and to focus instead on teaching children how to problem solve, the textbooks the group produced were influenced by educational psychologists such as the American Jerome Bruner, who posited that people learn in three stages: by using real objects, then pictures, and then through symbols. That theory contributed to Singapore’s strong emphasis on modelling mathematical problems with visual aids; using coloured blocks to represent fractions or ratios, for example.

A switch from an ability-based model of individualised learning, to a model [which says that] all children are capable of anything, depending on how it is presented to them and the effort which they put into learning it.

unlike Singapore’s office buildings, which are so deeply chilled by air conditioning that workers regularly wrap themselves in sweaters, the classrooms are open to the tropical humidity. Ceiling fans stir the air and the chatter of other children sometimes drifts through the open windows.

Meritocracy is an element of the glue that binds Singapore together. Alongside the promise of shared prosperity and security, the idea that the brightest can rise to the top is a component of the political bargain that the city-state has struck with its citizens, under which some political freedoms are restricted in exchange for significant material benefits.

Singaporeans frequently use the Hokkien Chinese word kiasu to describe themselves. The term translates as being afraid to lose out
investigation  interview  singapore  asia  education  children  learn  methodology  comparison  uk  crisis  world  future  creativity  debate  society  history  reportage 
july 2016 by aries1988
Jason Bourne vs James Bond - FT.com
https://www.instapaper.com/read/751278094
Matt Damon, the 45-year-old actor who plays him, summed up the difference between the two men in a recent interview. “Bond is a misogynist who likes swilling martinis and killing people and then telling jokes about it. Jason Bourne is a serial monogamist — he’s tortured by the things he’s done and feels empathy and compassion for other people. And Bourne would obviously win in a fight!” Obviously.
essay  movie  hero  masculine  comparison  uk  usa  spy  female  hollywood  british  american  manliness  story  world  instapaper_favs 
july 2016 by aries1988
Britain and Europe: the ties that bind — FT.com
The danger with stark dichotomies — and it is a danger with referendums — is that they flatten out nuances and make what is complex overly simple. Yes, in some ways, Britain has followed its own path. But each European country is exceptional in its own way. Switzerland is an extreme form of federalism. France is a highly centralised state, while Italy is more a collection of regions. Each country has laws, values and institutions that have developed over time and reflect its history. Yet ideas such as liberalism, Marxism and fascism have never respected borders.

History should not be asked to provide validation for political arguments in the present, or clear guidance for the future, but what it can do is caution us about taking too simple a view of the past. There are many competing strands in the European story but one thing is sure: Britain’s history cannot be disentangled from that wider one. Its inhabitants carry the genes of waves of migrants from the rest of Europe; Jutes, Danes, Vikings, Normans, Huguenots (who left behind names such as Farage), or Jews from Spain or eastern Europe.

In the late Middle Ages, British kings ruled over a swath of northern France and of Bordeaux. While they had lost most of it by the 15th century, they clung on to a small enclave around Calais until 1558. The then Queen, Mary Tudor, reportedly said the name would be engraved on her heart. Her successors never managed to gain it back but the British crown did not drop its claim to the throne of France until 1801.
history  uk  europe  Brexit  instapaper_favs 
july 2016 by aries1988
华尔街俱乐部|聂作平:天朝的铁幕是怎样被撬开的

接见之后的日子,作为英王特使的马戛尔尼以为他的外交使命才刚刚开始,但当他正准备就若干重要事务和天朝官员商讨时,天朝却一再暗示:你的朝贡任务已经完成,现在该返回你们的国家了。

一个12岁的孩子,尽管聪慧过人,但想必斯当东不一定会对东西方第一次真正意义上的对话有更深刻的理解。多年以后,当他长大成人,他才会明白这场后来被史学家们称为聋子之间的对话的失败外交,会对地球东西端的两个大国产生多么久远的影响。

乾隆愤怒的是,乔治三世竟称他为兄弟――按中国人的观念,君主如同天上的太阳,天无二日,君主是惟一的。乔治三世虽是英国国王,但也只是抚有四海的天朝皇帝的化外之民。他竟把自己和天朝皇帝相提并论,这不是僭越与狂悖吗?要不是看在英国远在万里之外,也还知道向天朝输诚纳贡,乾隆早就大发雷霆了。

当英法联军进驻圆明园时,他们惊奇地发现这些野战炮还完整地摆放在角落里,上面布满蛛网和灰尘。同样遭遇的还有马戛尔尼送给乾隆的那辆漂亮的四轮马车。它们全都作为英军的战利品,重新回到阔别了几十年的英国。
history  china  uk  story 
july 2016 by aries1988
After ‘Brexit’ Vote, Immigrants Feel a Town Turn Against Them - NYTimes.com
In this new environment, some immigrants say they have stopped speaking their native tongue in public. Nervous mothers say they worry about their children being bullied at school. Young immigrants say they fear discrimination over jobs and university admissions.
uk  Brexit  immigrant  story 
july 2016 by aries1988
Why the Remain Campaign Lost the Brexit Vote - The New Yorker
To get people to turn out and vote in your favor, you also have to give them something positive to rally behind. The Leave campaign, for all its lies and disinformation, provided just such a lure. It claimed that liberating Britain from the shackles of the E.U. would enable it to reclaim its former glory. The Remain side argued, in effect, that while the E.U. isn’t great, Britain would be even worse off without it. That turned out to be a losing story.
politics  referendum  people  democracy  campaign  opinion  fail  uk  Brexit  2016 
june 2016 by aries1988
Ending estrangement | The Economist
A hundred years ago Britain and Argentina were complementary economic superpowers. Britain built Argentina’s railway, which helped make Argentina one of the world’s ten richest countries, and bought 40% of its exports, mainly beef and grain. In 1914 Harrods, a fancy department store, opened its first overseas branch in Buenos Aires.
history  uk  argentina  latino  diplomacy 
may 2016 by aries1988
What New York can learn from London - FT.com
British people are less earnest about religion than many Americans. But, more importantly, in such a diverse city-state as modern London, identities are similarly fluid.

Londoners live in a world where cultural strands are constantly blended in surprising ways. You can see that in day-to-day matters such as cuisine — this is a country where curry became a national dish long ago; today Londoners queue for ramen, bao buns and barbecue. But what is truly striking in the London city-state is the high proportion of mixed-race families.

But when my family moved to New York a few years ago, we found ourselves in a world where identities tend to sit in boxes rather than on spectrums. Yes, America is an amazing melting pot and New York an incredibly diverse city. Yet President Barack Obama is hailed as the first black president, even though he is actually mixed, and universities run special entrance programmes for minorities. On US television, romantic dramas usually match couples along ethnic lines, like a modern Noah’s ark. And when bureaucratic forms require you to identify your ethnic origins, there is sometimes a mixed box on the list, but often there is not.

The fact that Khan has been elected mayor makes me very proud of my London origins — not because he is a Muslim, but because most voters do not particularly care that he is.
race  comparison  multiculturalism  city  uk  usa  election  metropolis  instapaper_favs 
may 2016 by aries1988
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