Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How Did Wendy Land a Faculty Job In the Middle of the Economic Meltdown

As an IT professional who had no exposure to the western higher education system, the Seagull Reference is very curious as to how things work out over 'there'. Thanks to a very interesting and well written article by Wendy, we are able to have a peek of it through Wendy's job searching journey. Wendy holds Bachelor and Master degrees in Journalism from Beijing University. Before her graduate endeavor at University of Minnesota, she had collected 10 years work experience as a productive reporter. Her professionalism and great skill of writing made the article a comprehensive guideline for Chinese students in academia job searching.

Between 2007 and 2009, Wendy went to five on campus interview for tenure track faculty positions. The campuses she had visited include prestigious private college such as Lehigh, first class research university such as University of California Riverside and Iowa State University, minority serving institutions such as the Fayetteville State University, as well as schools like University of Southern Illinois Carbondale. Wendy not only recorded her interview process with details, including verbal and written communications, but also provided her candid observations and opinions on the institutions, departments and people involved in this process. As Wendy summarized, the article would definitely help other oversea Chinese students in their own job searching, especially at this difficult time.

It's even more interesting, though, to read Wendy's calm observation of professors she encountered in the process. Wendy did not shy from showing readers their true color:

Lehigh University:
Lehigh University ranked well, except in Wendy's field, journalism. Wendy was shocked in dismay when she didn't get the job, but retrospectively thinking, she realized that it was a good thing for her career. She noticed Professor Lule was enthusiastic on her, but others were not. Lule particularly cautioned her not to discuss any scholastic topics with two of the senior professors (Professor Friedman and Professor Trimble) in the department who do not hold PhD degrees, so that not to embarrass them. Wendy noted that Professor Lule commented her for leaving a two months old baby in China to pursue graduate study in the US. Wendy noted a female associate professor (Professor Olson) who just got tenure. Professor Olson never received so many 'spotlight' Wendy immediately enjoyed on campus for eight years she had been in Lehigh. Out of jealousy, Olson raised many hostile question during Wendy's research presentation. When Wendy met with students, they told her that the only professor they liked was Professor Lule. However, the only questions she received after her talk was from hostile Olson, all other faculty seemed did not understand her research. The last mistake Wendy made was telling her true feeling on Lehigh to a Chinese female professor who came there last year. That Chinese professor must have turned her in to the selection committee.

The campus visit at Lehigh was Wendy's first on site interview. She learned many lessons. People living in a small valley in Pennsylvania are not only exclusive in academic fields, but also jealous on her expensive cashmere gown and suite. Indeed she's lucky that she did not get the offer.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale
SIUC School of Journalism was the second place Wendy visited in her job searching. Among the four specializations, Wendy applied for a position in News and Editorial. Teaching news writing is not a natural fit for people whose native language is not English. The rejection letter came in two weeks without a surprise.

Iowa State University
Wendy got the campus visit with a small trick. The telephone interview committee was comprised of three faculty members from Department of World Languages & Cultures and one from Applied Language. Wendy was able to write down questions she prepared in the one week leeway she was given ahead and read it on the phone. She pass the phone interview only because no one in the committee understand mass communication.

One arrived, Wendy noticed the head of the Journalism was in an endless war with the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Ignoring students demand for curriculum renovation, the head of the Journalism is reluctant to any idea of changes. The College Dean forcefully instructed a curriculum study committee, which nullified the power of the Journalism head, and consequently, Wendy was able to sneak through the phone interview as no journalism faculty was present.

The on site interview turned out to be a big mess. Faculty from linguistic, psychology, sociology, statistics and female study asked all kinds of question, knowing little on news and journalism. Later Wendy was 'symbolically' introduced to the head of Journalism while she was introduced to a journalism lecture who covers all journalism courses. In other words, she is not welcomed and not needed at all.

Wendy knew she wouldn't get the position. The position was not filled to any candidate because of resistance from the Head of the Journalism program. However, it was Wendy's contact, who originally picked her up from hundreds of resumes was the key person to veto Wendy's application. He eyed on Wendy because of her training in classic Chinese, but was disappointed to see Wendy's interest was in culture and movie, which is in conflict with his own specialty.

Fayetteville State University
Wendy's forth stop in her job search journey was in Fayetteville, North Carolina. This is a historically minority serving institution. Wendy was able to cite her own experience to come to the US leaving her two months old baby behind as an example that you can achieve your goal if you are tough enough. The interview itself was kinda in chaos as few people she was supposed to meet showed up on time, or at all. However, the peaceful small town has something that stoked a cord in Wendy's heart.

Professor Almeida called Wendy to tell her they unanimously voted to offer her the position days after Wendy received her dream offer from UC Riverside. When Wendy told her professors at University of Minnesota about it, they said 'thanks God you don't have to go there'.

University of California, Riverside
All fairy stories have a happy ending, and this one is not an exception. Wendy got her dream job at University of California Riverside. Professor Yu of the Department of Theater picked her up from the pool of hundreds of applicants.

from Wenxue City

我在金融风暴前后波诡奇绝的找工作经历 2009-03-30 10:18:11

留美八年,经过脱掉好几层皮的艰苦卓绝的学习训练,我即将拿到博士学位。这个时候就该开始找工作了。美国的博士们都是一边写论文一边找工作。我就读的明尼苏达大学新闻与传播学系在该领域比较有名,同系和同班的同学们大都找到很好的大学的tenure-track assistant professor 职位。我也憧憬像他们一样,找到助理教授的职位,实现所谓的“美国梦”。我当时没有想到,等待我的是异常曲折,五上三下的经历,还有如排山倒海而来的美国金融风暴。在残酷无情的现实面前, 我的命运就像一叶扁舟,随着四方汹涌而来的浪涛跌宕起伏,浮沉不定。但命运之神最终引导我穿过重重险阻,把我带到她赐予我的那块福地。我的历时两年,几上几下的亲历和见闻, 不仅是我人生的篇章,也是美国大学体制和特色的缩影。我记录下来,或许对学子们有所裨益。

在美国,大学求职自有一套体系,与公司、政府部门、社会组织、新闻媒体等都大不相同。光是求职材料就很复杂,包括个人简历 (CV),著作表 (publications), 教学理念 (teaching philosophy), 有的大学还要 所交课程的大纲( syllabus) 和教学评估 (teaching evaluation), 以及发表的论文( sample articles)。各个大学要求的材料不一样,光准备这些材料就要花费大量时间。从秋季学期开始,各个大学把他们的招聘职位公布在相关网页上,找工作的博士候选人们就到本领域的网站上搜索。发现和自己的研究领域相符的工作就按要求准备材料,然后寄出。往往寄出几十份甚至几百份简历,才有一个回信。一个职位往往有一百至两百个博士生竞争。和公司比,大学教授虽然工资不算最高,但工作非常稳定又受经济影响小,所以竞争也异常激烈。

招聘的系室收到成摞的简历后,search committee 先进行一遍初筛,从一两百人中选出五至八个候选人to make the shortlist。 然后对他们进行半小时左右的电话面试,在论文课题,研究计划,教学理念,人生计划等各方面提出五花八门的问题。电面后,search committee 再选出最后三至四个人,发出校园面试的邀请。一旦接到校园面试的邀请,无论是申请人自己,还是所在的系,都会非常兴奋,因为这预示着申请人已经过重重关卡,进入最后决赛;也预示着有很大的可能最后拿到offer. 这个时候申请人的导师就会召集系里教授和同学帮助申请人进行所谓的job talk, 即进行有关自己的研究课题和研究计划的演讲。先在本系试讲一次,系里的教授们指出问题,申请人进行修改。然后……, 申请人就或者意气风发,或者紧张不安地奔向校园面试的战场!校园面试的一切费用,机票,旅馆,餐饮,都由发出邀请的大学支付。为了能招聘到杰出人才,招聘大学通常请面试人住本地最好的旅馆,请他们在最有特色的餐馆吃饭。招聘院系也往往把面试时节当作本系的社交季节,平时难得相聚的教授们都借着与申请人吃饭的机会交流。反正系里付费,大家都趁机吃喝一番,杯盏交错,美食红酒,好不热闹。

我在2007-2008 和2008-2009 两年时间,经历五个校园面试,见识了不同的大学,住进各式的旅馆,吃过各种精美的饭菜,与各种不同性格的教授打过交道,也四处报告我的研究课题。其中见闻经历,一一道来,极为有趣。


2007年秋季开学后, 我陆陆续续发出近三十分简历,作了一个表格,标上所申请的大学名,截止日期,所需材料,何时寄出,何时收到校园面试邀请,何时拒绝我的申请或何时给予工作offers,工资如何等等, 准备摩拳擦掌大干一番。我自信满满,以为工作唾手可得,还会不止一个。为使我的简历显得更有分量,我把以前在中国发表的学术论文和做记者时出版的书、发表的文章也都列上。但此时我submit 给 referred journals 的几篇英文论文都还在 under review,尚不知道是否被接受。

在等待中,University of Virginia 管我 要了三篇论文,University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh 主动邀请我申请他们学校,并表示强烈兴趣邀请我校园面试。Middle Tennessee state University 发来电子邮件说我已在他们的shortlist 上。所有这些都给我一种印象,就是找着一个工作应该不成问题,就看在哪里,满意不满意。因为我们系的中国同学,在我之前,还没有找不到工作的呢。我抓紧时间写博士论文,因为我知道,只有过硬的论文,才是找工作真正的敲门砖。

在招聘大学的广告上, 里海大学的广告十分引人注目。它称自己在全美大学中排名第37位,位于美丽的里海山谷,开车距纽约与费城都只有两小时距离。它需要招聘一个助理教授搞全球化研究,同时也能教新闻传播方面的课程, 称成功的候选人将参与他们的全球化与社会变迁启动项目的研究 (Globalization and Social Change Initiative)。广告还说他们对那些研究民族现代化进程与全球化互动关系的候选人很感兴趣。我一看到这个广告,顿觉眼前一亮:他们要的人与我的专业领域和研究兴趣太吻合了,我就是研究传媒与全球化的,我尤其对全球化背景下的本土现代化进程感兴趣。我的博士论文是研究中国媒体以及电影在文化全球化大潮下的变革。这个广告简直就是为我设计的,而这份工作好像也是为我预备的,还是在这么好的大学!我立即着手精心准备材料,除了申请信要写得特别符合他们的需要外,还花费近两个月时间修改博士论文的两章,请美国同学帮我润色文字,务求语法正确,观点清楚,表达明朗。尽管里海的广告九月就登出,我一直反复修改论文到截止日期的12月1日前才寄出申请材料,其中包括他们所要的两章论文。我心里隐隐预感这个工作有门。当家人担忧找工作不见音信时, 我自信地告诉他们:里海这个工作非我莫属!

果然,申请截止日期刚过一个多星期,12月10日晚, 我就收到search committee chair 路力教授热情洋溢的email. Email said

“Everyone here was greatly impressed with your application. Your background, teaching and research interests seem well suited to the position. Conversely, the position – with its alignment between the Department of Journalism & Communication and the Globalization and Social Change Initiative – offers some important and perhaps unique opportunities for you.”

路力教授还让我选择一个时间与他通一次电话,向我保证这不是通常意义上的电话面试,让我不要紧张,不需准备。他只是想向我介绍一下他们项目的情况,并解答我 可能有的疑问。他在邮件中最后说他们将在下两个星期内决定校园面试的最后三名人选。

因为我已定于12月12日飞回中国探亲,所以告诉路力教授12月11 日与他通话。他回信说他很高兴在我回中国之前“逮住我” (caught you),因为他们对我非常感兴趣。第二天我与路力教授进行了20分钟左右非常友好的谈话,在通话中他向我介绍他们的项目,回答我的问题。在通话完毕后的电子邮件中,他说他非常高兴与我的“wonderful talk”, 祝我回中国一路顺风,他们会与我保持联系。我感觉我在电话里留给他的印象不错,因为我详细询问了他们的项目和开展此项目的原因和前景,问他们对我有何期待,准备让我教哪些课等等。我还告诉他我是做事很认真的人,对讲课和学术研究都有严肃的承诺 (serious commitment). 我感觉实际上这是一次不是面试的面试,他们实际上是借机考察我的反应,性格特点等等。

刚上job market 就有如此利好消息,我不禁有些得意忘形。寒假回中国休假,在一家美发店排出三百大元, 对店主说“给我理一个最好的头型,我要去工作面试!” 我那时没想到,上天早看到我们人类不可避免的弱点和虚荣,早已决定以它的方式好好教训我一番。

寒假中里海发来友好的邮件,说The selection committee, the Department of Journalism & Communication, and the Globalization and Social Change Initiative 三方 一致决定邀请我进行校园面试,还让我率先挑选时间。不过因为坐飞机倒时差,错过了University of Wisconsin Oshkosh 定下的电话面试时间,不免让我有些遗憾。

在中国的休假并没有彻底放松,因为我花费很多时间准备面试。看来里海对这次面试极为重视,日程前后加起来整整三天。校园访问就两天,包括与系里各位教师逐一会面,与学生代表座谈,与参与全球化与社会变迁项目的东亚系和其他系教授会面,参观图书馆,面见所属学院院长,还有作两场 presentations:一场针对本科生,主要考察我讲课的风格;一场是研究课题报告。当里海发给我访问日程表时,表上密密麻麻的日程真把我惊呆了。这是我有生以来第一次参加这样繁复、紧张的面试啊。我初出茅庐,毫无经验,任何一个环节出错都有可能前功尽弃,好吓人啊。我此后经过的历次面试,再没有哪个超过里海的面试天数和规模。我当时以为,一流名校面试人,可不就该这样吗?

回美国后我还用了一个星期时间准备。先在本系进行试讲,让老师们提意见,我再修改。还要上网查询里海新闻系各位教授的学术背景,草拟了两大页预备问他们的问题。我曾去听明大研究生院专为找工作的博士生们组织的讲座,知道见系里的资深教授和年轻教授各该问什么问题,见系主任和院长该问什么问题,见学生代表该问什么问题。我手上还有这些问题的汇编,这下全能用上了。在我启程前,里海甚至用特快专递给我寄来了他们学校教授的福利待遇,住房优惠等材料,好像我俨然已是他们的人了。大有面试前脚一结束offer 后脚就会到的样子。


从路力教授到机场来接我的那一刻起,他对我的考察就分分秒秒地开始了。他告诉我,他们共接到100 多 份申请材料,我是他们从这100多个人中挑出来的,因为能教授新闻传播课程又同时做全球化研究的人寥寥无几。他说你应该比较自信了吧。他又问询我的家庭,孩子,得知我刚生完女儿两个月就赴美留学,经过重重困难走到这一步,不禁感慨我不容易,事后我听见他对别人评论说:Wendy (我的英文名) is pretty tough.

我在路力教授的车里对里海所在的伯利恒小城四处张望,看到就一两条街道的小城,略有些稀疏和破旧的房子,不禁有些失望,觉得这个地方怎么有些破败。我来自明州双城,是美国中西部经济重镇,城市大而繁荣,房子新而宽敞,万湖之州,风景优美,中国学生很多,索马里人,老挝人也和睦相处,非常多样化。乍一来这样的小镇,顿觉有些闭塞隔膜。里海安排我住的 Bethlehem Hotel, 是当地名胜,历史悠久。但外观也貌不惊人。路力教授兴高采烈地告诉我这个旅馆多么多么好,但对我这样一个走南闯北,做过十年记者的人来说,这样的旅馆实在太平常了。我内心觉得路力教授这个神气活现的小老头,对这样的小城赞赏不已实在很怪。我当时不知道,小城的人们也有他们的骄傲和珍视的传统。我没有复合他的语气,没有跟着夸奖他们的小城和历史,已经埋下了使他们不快的种子。


和路力教授一起吃过早餐后,他驱车载我去校园。校园不像小城,确有名校的风采。建筑物高高低低分布在整座山上,都是哥特式的,乍一看很像教堂,有高耸如云的塔尖。新闻系单独占一幢小楼。路力教授与我首次通电话时,曾告诉我里海的学生们都来自高尚阶层, 这是个私立大学,小班授课。我与系里每位教师面见五十分钟。他们都很有礼貌,很安静,但少笑容。其中一位刚拿到tenure的女副教授虽也与我交谈,但面孔冰冷,令人不安。后来又是她在我做研究课题的报告时屡次发问,面含敌意。我想我并没有得罪她什么,何以对我有敌意。后来我从她的谈话中悟到,原来她妒忌我将参与的全球化研究项目获得校园里从上到下如此多的瞩目,按她的话说是很多“spotlight”,很多曝光的机会,她已在这里八年,却从未有过这样的曝光机会,不免很不平衡。

中午安排我与学生代表在校园里一家餐馆吃饭。这是更深入了解新闻系的好机会。我对学生们说,不要把我当教授看待,我和他们一样,还是学生,请他们无话不谈,多告诉我系里的情况。这个开场白很有用,学生们一下子放松了,直率地告诉我他们对该系的意见。他们说他们能从别的系得到intellectual inspiration,但从新闻系得不到。他们喜欢听外系的课,但新闻系的课十分乏味。外系也有很激励人的教授,但新闻系没有。我又问他们最喜欢和最不喜欢系里哪个教授。学生们答,每个人都喜欢路力教授。但对别的教授都不敢恭维。

下午我做了一场比较成功的授课。学生们对我授课的内容非常感兴趣,踊跃提问,课堂交流互动很热烈。这是我意料之中的。因为我在明大当过多年助教,也独立教课,我的课还是比较受欢迎的,第一次教课就得到了平均分5.1 的评估 (1-7 scale with 7 highest.)路力教授也很满意。但我太不小心,多嘴,告诉他我问学生们新闻系什么好什么不好,他显得有些不高兴。大概是嫌我问得太多,把该系的老底都搞清了。


晚餐和路力教授和另外一位年轻助理教授一起吃。喝了点红酒,大家话都多起来。路力教授谈到他的第一份工作在南方一所大学,头次在餐馆看到那里的人们拿着猪骨牛排大啃特啃,很吃惊好笑。我则借机展示我生活的另一面,谈起我的宝贝女儿,说我多爱她。说她看到里海的网上照片,表示她很喜欢这个地方。路力教授等听了都很惊喜,这表示我和家人对里海都很有好感。我还说我喜欢教书,在教课中我发现了我的真正的激情(in teaching I find my true passion). 离我们不远的一张餐桌旁,几位里海各个研究院的院长们(Dean)也在边吃边谈。路力教授暗示我其中一位女性院长就是订于明天要会见我的。我赶紧偷偷多看了她两眼。她年纪约四五十岁,面容白皙,金黄的卷发披散在肩,身着长裙,显得十分年轻优雅。不一会,这位院长特意走到我们桌前打招呼,我赶紧站起来,她对我说:“我们明天要会面的,是吗?”路力教授说他与这位院长共事多年,她为人很好。但我从院长略显苍白的脸色感到,她似乎在忍着某种身体的不舒服。

又是一夜无眠考虑第二天的事情。第二天早饭原定与国际关系系的同时参与全球化项目的一位年轻教授一起吃,但他临时有事没来。结果我又和路力教授一起吃。这时我又犯了一个错误。我在明大接受找工作训练时,有的教员建议在面试时要适机透露自己还有多少其他的面试机会和其他大学也对自己感兴趣云云,好增加自己受欢迎的程度和使面试的大学更重视你。而我那时确实已接到南伊利诺伊大学卡城分校的校园面试邀请,University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Middle Tennessee State University 等的消息也在陆陆续续到来。我就透露了一下这些信息,结果路力教授脸色马上紧张起来,担心我可能不一定会来里海。其实我心里是列里海为找工作的首选,毕竟从大学的排名上,地理位置上,学生素质上,这里都很不错。实际上,那位教员的建议不见得有效,因为所有的大学都不愿意看到面试的人显得三心二意,他们花了这么多钱请你来,就是想要你对他们大学的忠心和热爱。最好你能一辈子待在这里为他们尽力。我的误听建议导致我又一次nou巧成拙.

早饭后的头一项安排是参观新闻系常用的图书馆,并探索一下那里的资源是不是够我做全球化研究。图书馆很像电影《哈里。波特》里的一个场景,人站在中心天井中可以看到层层叠叠的书架恢弘地耸立在四周的楼面上。图书馆一位很有礼貌的女士带我参观,每当路过墙上悬挂的老照片时,都要向我介绍小城的历史,怎样从一个产钢的城市衰落下来,而市政府怎样计划在原来的钢厂场址上建造一个赌场,尽管招致许多发对意见。我虽听着,但有些心不在焉。我在心里比较这个图书馆和我们明大的图书馆。明大有十多个图书馆,Wilson 图书馆藏书及其丰富。明大还有亚洲研究中心,东亚图书馆,做中国研究和全球化研究资料十分丰富。而这里的图书馆规模太小了,资料也不够丰富。后来我在那位女士的办公室问询有无我要的中国资料库,她说由于预算的限制,他们的图书馆不可能像明大的图书馆一样买下整个资料库,只能订阅一小部分。事后我相信,这位女士对我的印象和图书馆无法满足我的需要的评论,对search committee 的决定起了不小的作用。


临近中午时我该对系里的和全球化项目的教员报告我的研究课题了。我用PowerPoint slides 图文并茂地介绍我的总研究领域,博士论文内容,今后五年的研究计划,与其他教授的合作前景等。他们听得挺认真,但除了前述那位对我有敌意的女教授提了两个有关方法论的问题外,其他人提不出什么问题。我感觉他们或者不了解,或者也不感兴趣我的研究,我好像是对一个空洞演讲。这使我感觉有点闷。我的不安分的性格此时又在嘀咕了:难道我要在这个挺闷的系和这几个人待一辈子吗?我喜欢明大的学术气氛,非常活跃,非常多元化。每天都有不同的讲座和学术活动,我可以像条小鱼一样在不同的系科自由自在地游来游去,随时攫取有益的养分。但这个系就这么五个人,还有两个没有博士学位,另外三个,除了路力教授,也不见得能和我探讨什么。以后会不会很闷呢?我是否应该上别的学校看看呢?

带着这些疑惑,我又犯了一两个错误。演讲完后我调皮地问路力教授:“我通过考试了吗?” (Did I pass the exam?)路力教授高兴地笑着说:“You certainly did.”他告诉我来面试的人,有的发表的文章比我多,但很傲慢,他们不想要这样的。也有的说要教新闻课,但不像我这样还懂AP style (美国新闻界通行的写作格式)。他不久后就拿来下个学期的课程表,问我能教什么课。那个架势,也像告诉我我被录用了。而原订于下午我和会面的那位女院长,真的因为身体不舒服,把会面推迟到明天了。当路力教授送我回旅馆时,他暗示我要早下决心,别的地方的面试就不要去了。他说:“I think we will work together.”但我心有迟疑,没有接应他的话就下车了,他脸上的表情有些失望。晚上又是和几个教授吃饭。其中一个突然问我:“How do you feel about Minnesota?”我不知是计,马上兴高采烈地回答我很喜欢明州,非常多样化,很多中餐馆,很多中国学生和亚裔云云。结果他们的表情都有些落寞。后来我才悟到,里海所在的小城没有一家中餐馆,多样性也不是该大学的特色。比较适宜的回答应该是:我很喜欢明州,但那里太冷了。我喜欢里海这里温和的气候和美丽的校园。但这是我第一次面试,哪里会知道这么多tricks.


一个错误是与女院长见面时。其他人见院长都很紧张。我非但不紧张,还拿出当记者时采访人的派头。我和她面对面坐着,从容应答她对我的发问。她非常瘦弱,个子也不高。在我眼里,她像一只机敏戒备的小兔子,捲曲在沙发里瞪着我。被这两天里海的殷勤热情冲昏了头的我,拿出当年做记者的派头,竟然对女院长说:我可以问您一个问题吗?您如何处理事业和家庭的关系?如何协调做母亲、妻子和教授的角色冲突?女院长显然没料到我会如此大胆问她的家庭生活,她迟疑着简短回答了我的问题。尽管她送我出来时笑容满面地说她“enjoy talking to me very much,”我事后还是觉得我可能冒犯了她。我忘记了自己应聘人的地位,忘记了自己正时刻被人考察,颠倒了别人与我的关系,竟然派头十足地去采访院长!尽管在教授治校的美国,学校管理层一般不干涉系里选择,但很难说她会不会像她的老朋友路力教授谈对我的看法。



As you know, out of more than 100 candidates, you emerged as a very, very strong candidate for our position. Your interview here was excellent.

However, the final candidates were all extremely competitive and we are planning to make an offer to another candidate. Universities often talk of "fit," and this decision probably came down to that concept of "fit", after conversations with faculty, students and administrators. Please do know that all thought very highly of you.

The formal word may not be sent out for at least a week. But I wanted to let you know as soon as possible so you can plan for the future.

我大为沮丧,第二天垂头丧气地去找一个相熟的本系的年轻女助理教授诉苦。她说,Wendy, 你去之前我就已经知道你不一定能拿到这个offer. 我很惊讶,问她怎么知道。她说,从规模很大的公立研究型大学出去的候选人很难在小型的私立大学拿到offer。因为那些私立大学非常exclusive (排外),也很保守。他们很骄傲自己的传统,不喜欢外来的冲击,也不喜欢多样化。而你在明州双城的多样化环境里受的教育,你不一定能适应那里的日常生活。你不fit 那里。这与你的水平能力无关,因为 you cannot control fit!

我恍然大悟。从此才开始认识美国大学一个很重要的人际政治学: fit. 仔细想想,没拿到这个工作的确也是我“罪有应得”: 谁叫我多嘴,说人家的系不好;谁叫我三心二意,总还想上别的学校去看看;谁叫我派头十足,不知谦卑,冒犯了人家呢。就连我的着装在校园里也嫌扎眼,三天时间里我或穿着价格不菲的开司米毛衣和长裙,或西服套装,或呢大衣,在校园里晃悠,派头十足。而其他所有老师都衣着极为朴素,按中国人的标准甚至显得寒碜,他们能不视我为“异类”吗?但另一方面,里海也有些矫情:你们不是需要人开展全球化项目的研究吗?那么你们为什么不挑选最能干活的人,而宽容她的个性言谈呢?你们新闻系的课程那么乏味,惹得学生诸多抱怨。而我能丰富你们系的课程,拓展你们的视野,是能给你们带来生气的新鲜血液,却被你们拒之门外。算了,不和你们玩了。

后来我的几位教授知道了,都告诉我兵西法尼亚州的人很保守。他们说,从长远来看,里海不给你offer, 实际上对你今后的发展更好。因为他们那个系实在很一般。到那里去,你将失去与你的领域的学术联系。

但我们是中国人,在美国求生存的需要大于追求学术的需要。一位朋友听说我没拿到offer, 开玩笑说她是碰了多少钉子才拿到offer的。如果我第一次找工作就拿到offer, 也太过分了。可是我们系的许多同学都是一上job market 就找到工作呀,他们运气都这么好。这位朋友告诉我了一个中国人找工作的至理名言:找工作一定要见人说人话,见鬼说鬼话。如果面试的地方是一流大学注重搞研究,就要多强调自己多么热爱研究工作,节假日也不休息;如果面试的地方是个小学校更看重你的个性特点,更重视家庭,就要说自己多爱孩子,喜欢多和家人在一起,等等。她还告诉我尤为重要的是:在美国这样一个基督教国家,举止言谈一定要“humble”,要谦和,千万不可言谈太冲。另外,美国人对亚洲女性有一种预期,希望看到亚洲女性的柔顺谦让的特点。她笑说,你可能不太符合人家的预期!

第二次面试: 南伊利诺伊大学卡城分校

这次面试紧接着里海的面试,整个过程都笼罩在我在里海的失败的阴影下。事实上,此大学面试的邀请我在中国度寒假时就接到了。此大学的新闻传播学院在本领域排名还不错,学院颇具规模,包括四个系。我申请的是新闻系的位置。我在华盛顿参加年会时与学院的院长有过一面之交,他很有绅士风度地请我吃了午饭。该院长是某年的普利策新闻奖的最后入选人,得过多个奖项。我广泛发简历时,也没指望我会入选最后面试名单。当该系的邀请到来时,我正和里海频繁通信。我的如意算盘是,一旦里海雇用我,我就不用千辛万苦地再上他们那去了。所以我一再拖延订机票的时间。直到他们反复催促,而我也被里海拒掉以后,我才急匆匆订机票上他们那去。但我心里明白,我这次可能只是所有面试候选人中垫底的,希望不大。因为他们要的人主要教授新闻写作,而我虽当过此门课的助教,有全套教学大纲,还熟悉AP style,能勉强教这门课, 但谁会雇用一个中国人,一个英语非其母语的人教英文新闻写作呢,在中国教教还差不多。

我觉得希望不大,也就缺乏去面试的动力。又因为情绪上还没有从里海的失败上缓过来,有点神思恍惚。一路上都很不顺利,先是看错了时间误了飞机,又赶上该大学所在地点 St. Louis 地区遇到暴风雪,航班延迟。我在晚上7 点左右到达 St. Louis, 又坐了三个多小时的小公共汽车在风雪中一路颠簸到达卡城。入住旅馆时已是半夜了,而第二天一早就要和一个教员吃饭面谈。


这里的教员的风格也和里海不同。里海的人很有礼貌,但你不知道他们心里在想什么。而这里的教员更平易近人,更直爽,坦率地向我介绍该大学和该城市的情况。和系里教员会面时,经常是三两人结伴而来,嘻嘻呵呵地跟我聊天,猜我只有25岁,还问我喜不喜欢户外运动等等。我除了对该大学所在地点不太满意,觉得偏远,小城也有些衰落,附近还有美国几所主要的监狱外,还是比较喜欢这里的人的直爽和不拘小节。另外一个更吸引我的地方,是该学院有一个全球化研究中心,由国际传播领域的著名学者约翰. 唐宁主持。我对他慕名已久,读过他的著作,觉得与我的研究领域很相符。但不巧的是唐宁教授刚出差,我没缘见到他。

我吸取了里海的教训,见人就说我喜欢这里云云,惹的系里教授们都笑说我很会说话。但我的研究课题似乎不太对路子,因为我的主题是文化全球化和电影,不大讲新闻热门话题。Search committee 里的一位教授尤其抓住这 一点不放,反复问我将来是搞电影还是搞新闻。我回答说搞新闻以试图蒙混过关。其实我的研究领域跟新闻离得较远,反而跟文化研究 (cultural studies)密切相关。这和我本科中文系的背景有关, 我骨子里更喜欢文史哲。这位教授很精明,似乎看穿了我的伎俩。



在该大学的面试机会纯属我钻空子“骗”来的。招聘系是外国语言和文化系,照理说不符合我最近十年的学术训练。虽然我有教过中文的背景,但那是多年前在中国,我没有受过美国的语言教学的训练,如选修语言教学法的课,拿到第二语言教学的硕士学位等等。但广告说需要一个人能教授跨文化传播 (intercultural communication),同时又得能教外国语言系的一门主要外语,如德语,法语,汉语和阿拉伯语。这就与我的专业背景沾点边了。我从未研究过跨文化传播,但我的课题又涉及跨文化传播。为找工作,我就把申请信尽量往跨文化传播上靠,还突出我的北大中文系的背景。竟然蒙混过关,接到电话面试的通知。


该大学在爱荷华州的一个小城市, 是明州的近邻。即使开车去,三个多小时就到了。下飞机后,外国语言文化系教中文的中国人石老师来接我。汽车穿过具有爱荷华州特色的大片玉米地,沿途都是光秃秃的农场,略显偏僻和荒凉。一路上我和石老师聊得很好,这就叫他乡遇老乡,倍感亲切。石老师告诉我第二天要和我吃早饭的是一位中国通,是他把我从申请这个工作的成堆的中国人中挑出来的。



在和各位教授,院长的面谈中,我很快发现,该大学的传播系主任正和整个人文社科学院陷入一场战争,他们之间存在着极深的矛盾。传播系的学生们嫌本系课程单调过时,要求变革,加入传播学界的新发展, 如文化研究,批判性传播理论等。但系主任不愿变革,觉得已有课程足够用了。于是人文社科学院院长下令组成由各系教授组成的传播研究筹划指导委员会,招聘新人,准备强行塞进传播系。而在招聘过程中,传播系主任几乎被架空,没有发言权。这也就是为什么电话面试我时没有一个传播系的人在场使我蒙混过关的原因。

学院的用意是好的,但这样做不make sense。招聘的人应该具有传播学博士学位才可以胜任工作,也应该由传播系出面考察人,才能招到懂行的人才。怎么能让一群外行教授组成委员会考察传播学候选人呢?



石老师非常希望我能来,他说好跟我学学。因为在美国教中文的人很多是学英语的人出来,选修了一些语言教学法以后开始教中文的。他们很少有科班出身,对中国语言文化有系统了解的。而我是北大中文系本科、硕士毕业,受过正规中国文学和中国古典文学的训练。除专攻唐诗宋词 外,《史记》、《资治通鉴》、《庄子》、《论语》等古籍也都是我们的必读书目。虽事隔多年,但温习一下,哄哄小老外们还是可以的。但我心里很犹疑:如果被雇用,不用说会卷进学院和传播学系的矛盾中,而且不论教中文还是教人际传播都与我的大众传媒研究的背景不符,会脱离我的领域。但如果真雇用我,也只能来,因为找工作不易。


结果当年由于传播系主任的反对,该大学谁也没雇用。第二年我又看到他们的招聘广告,这次是由传播系主任主持招聘,要招传播学 博士。估计是该主任斗争胜利了。早是如此,我也不会蒙混过关到校园面试这一步了。外国语言文化系也单独招聘教中文的教师,因为我记得石老师说他们要办中文本科。但他们会要文学博士,而不会要大众传播博士。即使他们会考虑我,我也再不会应聘这个职位重复尴尬局面了。那位中国通第二年也离开了该大学。他在那里的作用似乎就是阻止我被雇用,阻止完了,他又走了。也许是上天派他去的?也许这是命运的安排?现在想想,我应当感谢他:如果不是他阻止,我也许会在那个小城落脚,干着一些矛盾的、与我的领域不相关的事情,就不会有我后来的更理想的结局了。


三次面试都没成功,我觉得很没面子。 其他学校的客气的拒信也来了。有的学校虽然把我列在最后入选名单上,但仔细研究后发现我的研究兴趣与他们的需要不符合,就录用了其他人,如 Middle Tennessee State University. 有的学校由于我回中国度假错过了面试时间,也就懒得再理我,反正有的是候选人, 如 University of Wisconsin Oshkosh 。结果这一年的申请没有一个好结果。很长时间我陷入了frustrated and down mood.我感觉身心俱疲,很想回国安顿下来,好好和家人团聚过日子了。人各有命,各有其destiny. 也许我命中注定要回国?回国压力会小些,比较轻松,比较快乐,可以好好享受生活。有句话说得好:“上帝对你关上一道门,必会再为你开一扇窗。” 我的那扇窗也许在国内?

好多同学告诉我,找工作就像相亲,必须双方每个人都对上眼才行。第一年往往只是积累经验,好多人都是第二年才找到,即使是美国同学。他们都劝我再试一年,因为我头次上job market 就有三次面试,再试下去没准就成了。我认识的一位历史系俄罗斯同学说我在里海的面试犯了和他一样的错误,表现太过,说自己可以做这做那,无所不能,结果没拿到offer. 他后来吸取教训,在第三次面试时得到工作。他说我有很好的记录,下一年应该有希望。我的教授们也都鼓励我:don’t give up, keep going.


暑假里居然有一个小学校打国际长途到中国电话面试我。这个小学校是我三次面试不成后做的一个实验。因为我联系的不少中、小学校也谢绝了我,而他们都说我的背景很强应该去更fit 的地方。我很疑惑,难道我的背景与这些学校的需要不符?我决定做一个实验,看看美国的大学到底需要些什么人。正好纽约州立大学下属的一个小学校茅城分校 招聘一个人教授大众传播和新闻写作。我研究了这个学校,发现这实际上是一个农业技术学院,学生是两年制大专生以及四年制本科生,新闻项目规模很小又 不成体系。学院里不少教员只有非名校的硕士学位。我衡量了一下,觉得光我的明大博士头衔就已经够用了。于是我把简历上所有的发表的文章都删去,仅保留学术会议的论文,使简历变得光秃秃的,不显山不显水,然后就寄出去了。没想到这么一个简历居然引起了这个小学校的兴趣。由于时差,面试我时正好是北京的半夜。我胡讲了一通,自觉答得乱七八糟。过了两天他们回信说他们担忧我不能在八月前答辩拿到博士学位,所以决定延迟招聘时间到秋天。秋天我回美国后再联系我。

秋季回美后我又开始了新一轮的求职历程。这次我不再局限于tenure-track assistant professor 的职位,而是讲师和访问讲师的职位也都申请,想先获得一些教学经验。但一场谁也没料到的巨大的金融风暴在不知不觉中猛烈袭来。由次贷危机开始的是此金融危机,原本只涉及证卷界、银行等金融系统,但随着危机愈演愈烈,零售、餐饮、小企业、制造业无一不受波及。象牙之塔中的高等院校,最终敌不过一波又一波铺天盖地而来的破产、倒闭风潮,也面临资金匮乏、捐赠急剧下降命运,不得不缩减经费,冻结招聘。就连象牙之塔顶尖上的哈佛大学,由于捐赠资金缩水三分之二,原本计划招聘的75个职位,也减少到15个。我所在的明大面临州政府削减预算,董事会下令除非及其必要的职位,冻结一切招聘。即使有的职位已完成校园面试的过程,口头通知候选人给予offer, 也要收回。有消息报道密歇根大学解聘了两百多个讲师和 adjunct faculty。这个秋季我陆续发出的三十多份简历中,在两个月的时间里已有十家寄来职位冻结的通知。

那个暑假里电面我的小学校,在11 月份的一天突然发来一个电子邮件,问我如果还感兴趣他们的职位,他们准备马上邀请我进行校园面试,来年1月份就要开始工作。他们的邮件还说,我们学校资金有限,面试后offer 很快会随之而来。所以你要认真考虑,准备不准备接受我们的offer。言外之意是说,如果你不打算上我们这儿来工作,你就不要浪费我们的钱来面试。

我接到这个消息,既惊喜又迟疑。惊喜的是在经济危机的时刻还能有工作机会,迟疑的是这份工作实在不怎么样。要教许多课不说,还在不同的地点,还要对大专生教网上的远距离授课。到这个地方去,就完全不能研究我感兴趣的东西了。但工作难找,我想先答应下来再说,以后再跳槽。我就回信说我准备接受他们的offer, 将尽快答辩好在1月份就开始工作。他们非常兴奋,说将马上上报Dean 决定日程表和可能给我的待遇。正当我加紧赶论文之际,他们的院长来信,非常遗憾地告诉我由于budget cut, 他们不得不冻结这个已经内定给我的offer,当然面试就更不必要了。

12月初的时候,Minnesota State University 发来及其突然、又过分热情的信,问我能不能马上答辩,从来年1月就上他们那去工作。我申请这个学校好几个月没收到任何音信。我猜他们原先没打算要我,现在不知什么原因又考虑我了。该大学还说他们系里的六个教员五个是明大毕业生,其中还有一个是我的同班同学。这个大学还不错,又在明州,虽然总和自己的系友待在一起略显单调。但时近圣诞,教授们都要放假,我也还没有全部写完论文,年底前答辩是不可能的。最后该大学推迟招聘到春天了。而春天时,州政府又一次消减预算,这个职位又冻结了。这是后话。

到2008 年年底,似乎一切路都堵死了。我申请的所有工作不是冻结,就是被拒。连申请助教工作想获得一点经济资助也没成功。寒假在中国时我曾与在北京的明大校友们聚会,其中有一个人谈到他回国的原因是遇到了“上帝关门” 的情况,他原本是成功的副教授,突然之间系里人事关系的变故使他丧失一切支持,于是回国。联想到我的求职难,我觉得是不是上帝关上了所有的门,逼我回国呢?我知道没路的时候,上帝总会指给我一条路。只是我不太确定,这条路通向何方。

在一次教会为国际学生办的友好晚会上,一位美国基督徒讲述了一个故事:一次一个男孩在漫天大风雪中骑着他家的老马回家。风雪迷漫中他完全看不清路,只能任由老马载着他走。他在大风雪中卷曲着身子眯缝着眼坐在马背上。不知走了多久,老马突然停下来,这是他听到父亲熟悉温暖的声音:孩子,you are home. 原来识途的老马已经把他带回了家。这个故事按照基督教的解释,是我们每个人都像迷途的羔羊,只有上帝那里是我们最后的归宿,最后的家。而我却从这个故事中猛然悟到了人生的道理: 原来我找工作的历程,就是回家的历程。 这一年我去的三个学校,都好像不太适合我;我也不fit 他们。我精神上的家在哪里呢?我在我的美国朋友 Linda 发去的圣诞贺卡上这样写道:“The journey of job searching is actually the journey to find way home, intellectually, spiritually, and physically. The journey is still continuing, and I will see where God leads me.”


牛年伊始 柳暗花明


先是我的两篇英文论文终于被两家还不错的期刊接受,条件是在完成minor revisions以后。多年的苦学开始厚积薄发。这本来也是我的计划,即找不着工作先利用这段时间搞几篇论文出来,为以后奠定基础。因为找教职靠的就是发表论文。


最后,在牛年开始的时候,我一直预感有戏也一直在等消息的 University of California Riverside 通知我准备校园面试。这个大学要找一个能教多门基础大众传播、文化研究课程,同时又做中国传媒和文化研究的人。他们索要的申请材料也很多,除了简历外, 还要论文和至少两门课的课程大纲。招聘的系是传媒和文化研究系,与我的研究领域非常相符。系主任米勒教授在文化研究领域很有名,是16本书的作者。我读过他的好几本书,我的博士论文里还引用了他的观点,很盼望和他一起工作。我感觉这个职位比去年里海大学的职位还理想。但加州大学素享盛誉,最著名的伯克利分校、洛杉矶分校、圣地亚哥分校等都在那里,还有斯坦福大学等,多少人才呀。竞争必然及其激烈,哪里轮得上我呢?



预订2月初到该校面试,但因为招聘系的秘书把我的面试预算表上报晚了,院长没批下来,所以面试推迟一个星期。奇怪的是订于星期三飞往北卡罗莱纳州,到星期二上午机票时刻表和面试日程表还没发给我。我由于被各种职位冻结的消息搞得像惊弓之鸟,以为该大学最后一刻下令冻结这个工作,急忙发信给search committee chair 尤金娜教授问询。收到我的信后,尤金娜教授才想起发给我机票和日程表。我初步的感觉是该大学作风拖拉,安排不周到严谨。一查该大学的情况,原来是HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).该大学75% 的学生都是黑人。


小城的干净美丽出乎我的意料。尤金娜夫妇告诉我,这个小城原先就有一个美军基地。现在美国政府又计划把在亚特兰大的美军基地迁移到这里来,建成全美最大的美军基地。所以该州和该小城都得到联邦政府的大笔资金。大学虽然也预算紧张,但我这个职位是保证不会冻结的。学生们不少是美军家属。因为美军中30%至40% 都是黑人。也许由于有军队驻扎的缘故,小城的治安非常好。




院长是和蔼的白人男性。他告诉我说很多人到这个学校后发现自己并没有准备好教授这些黑人学生。他说你们所受的训练都是怎样做研究,但你们并没有受到如何教less prepared 的学生的训练,所以你们来后得接受教学法的训练。他还说这个学校很多学生由于各种原因辍学,四年毕业率只有20%。他们的目标是把四年毕业率提高到30%,六年毕业率提高到60%,维持80%的两年学生不辍学率。联邦政府拨许多钱资助黑人学生,他们也尽一切可能帮助黑人学生,但迄今收效不大。很多学生是驻扎在伊拉克士兵的家属,一旦他们的丈夫在伊拉克遇难,这些学生就精神崩溃辍学了。还有的黑人女学生往往16、17岁就怀孕生孩子,还要全天工作抚养孩子,也无法完成学业。所以他们任重道远。


面试的最后一项是和search committee 的全体成员面谈。尤金娜教授先问我有什么好方法帮助那些动不动就不完成功课、怀孕生孩子和辍学的黑人学生。她说系里教员们经常抱怨黑人学生不好好学习。我回答说我将对他们很耐心,很同情,和他们分享我的人生经验。因为我也是抛下两个月的女儿来美国留学的,我的八年留美经历可以说是艰苦卓绝。如果我能挺过来,他们也应该行,只要有决心,有毅力。尤金娜教授和其他教员对我这个回答非常满意,又问我还会不会回中国等,担忧我干不久。但没有一个人对我的研究课题感兴趣,没有一个人问起我的兴趣领域,让我颇觉失落和沉闷。离开校园时,我几乎决定这里不适合我。我心想,经过八年苦学,I deserve a better place.



第五次面试: University of California Riverside

该校的面试紧接着在北卡的面试之后,相隔只有三天。我的行李都不用变动。因为这是个研究型大学,我在去年做过的多场研究课题报告的基础上,结合我的最新论文进展,又精心准备了一个PowerPoint 报告。该系教授们大多做文化研究和历史研究 (cultural studies and historical studies),好几个研究电影,很对我的路子。但这个系女性教授占大多数,万一这回他们想要一个男性教授,我就完全没戏了。这是一个我不确定的因素。

我转道丹佛飞往加州。当巴士把我送到旅馆时,我惊呆了。我住过多少旅馆,从来没见过这么美丽精致、这么有格调、完美揉合东西方艺术传统的地方。大厅处处鲜花盛开,花香阵阵扑鼻。各个楼层上天主教雕塑、日本花园、中国佛教雕像等等错落有致地搭配在一起,陈列丰富,韵味深长,又不显杂乱。这个旅馆是前美国总统尼克松举行婚礼的旅馆,日本皇太子妃也曾造访。该旅馆是Riverside 市著名的历史胜迹。UCR 历年都安排工作候选人入住这个旅馆。据说只要候选人们一住进这个旅馆,他们就决定上这里来工作。

晚上第一个和我面谈的是该系的年轻男教授德里克,他研究邦德系列电影如何表现美国失落的国民性格,他还研究互联网和新媒体。我因为在多个校园面试见识了各式各样的人,不太确定这里的人是怎么样的?他们需要什么样的人,他们对我有什么期待?我该怎样说话表现?所以我一开始有些拘谨。德里克脸上,以及后来面见我的search committee chair的脸上都有一种若隐若现的厌倦和疲乏的表情。一开始我不太明白他们为何有这种表情,我想我才是第一个来面试的。后来德里克告诉我,原来我是最后一个面试的,他们已经提前面试了另两个候选人。德里克看我的表情,仿佛是说,其他两个人都没什么特殊的,你有什么地方能引起我们的兴趣吗?当然这个表情是我开始与他交谈后悟出的。我先问他,你们确定你们想要一名女性吗?德里克说,三个来面试的人都是女的。没有什么男的申请这份工作,只有不多的几个,但他们不够好。照规定不该透露给我任何其他候选人的信息和系里的计划,但这个系的教授们不拘小节,经常嘴里漏风告诉我。一听都是女的,我心里一块石头落了地。我相信我的研究领域比较对他们的路子,还是比较有竞争力的。

当我发现他们是考察候选人够不够 “cool”,我就可以放开谈了。我先问系里教授的政治倾向,是偏左,偏右,还是中间派。因为搞文化研究和历史研究的教授们绝大多数都是美国左派,米勒教授更是有名的强硬左派,他的书总是抨击美国文化帝国主义和经济霸权,鼓吹少数族裔更多登上政治舞台。他本人是澳大利亚人。德里克比划着说,系里教授全是 far left,就差不是socialists 了。这倒也在我意料中,因为加州大学系统有很多著名的左派学者,该系统也以多样化著称。我说我在我们系感觉很孤独,因为我们系大部分教员搞广告、公共关系研究,而我喜欢文化研究和历史研究。我的大部分课都是在美国研究系(American Studies),政治学系 (Political Science)和历史系选修的。然后我谈到自己的论文,又问他的邦德系列研究, 使德里克很兴奋。最后我们都谈到自己一直在寻找的学术和精神上的家园。就这样我们越谈越投机,不知不觉竟然谈了快三个小时。德里克临走一再祝我明天的面试 “good luck”。

第二天全天面试。早饭与 chair 吃。我从德里克那里听说他非常 “cool.”他问了我两个问题:1, 你为什么放弃中国古典文学研究而做了一名记者? 2,为什么做了多年记者后又决定上美国来读研究生?这两个问题真是一针见血,涉及我的最主要的人生历程和人生选择。我就说这是一个 long story,你真有兴趣听这个故事吗?他说要听,于是我就告诉他我的 long story.

早饭后到系里先见米勒教授。他说这个系设计为让每一个教授代表世界上某一个主要地区,去年他们招聘了一个代表印度地区和穆斯林宗教的人,今年则要招一个研究中国的人。我问了他拿到 tenure 的要求,他说要六、七篇论文和一本书。他随后向我道歉,因他要给学生上课,不能来听我的演讲,但会看录像。

随后面见的人是安迪教授。她很年轻,也很文质彬彬。我从网上查到她是研究美国印第安人历史和白人对其的屠杀的,很感兴趣。很想多问问她的研究结果。我想起明大的印第安学生有一次集会抗议明大校方纪念哥伦布诞辰日,他们说哥伦布开始了美洲几百年来对印第安人的血腥屠杀。我就和安迪说了这件事。我又想起有一次收到美国研究系的电子邮件,呼吁大家支持一名在密歇根大学任教的印第安裔女教授。这位女教授出了两本书,学术成果累累,还是支持印第安人的社会活动家,并被联合国任命为定期向联合国报告印第安人处境的联络员,但竟然被密歇根大学拒绝tenure.邮件呼吁我们一起向密歇根大学的“厚脸皮的管理层“抗议。我就问安迪知道不知道这位女教授,安迪回答说:“It’s me”(那就是我)。我大为吃惊,连问了两声:“Is that you? Is that you?” 我立刻起身给了安迪一个紧紧的拥抱,然后问:“How could they do this to you?” 安迪说最后实际上只有一名院长反对她,但她还是离开了。安迪随后问我的教学理念,我说我主张多样化和多文化主义,营造宽松环境,鼓励言论自由。安迪告诉我她在UCR感觉 much freer。再不用总是看别人脸色和揣度气氛后再发言,还总怕说错话。


临近中午,系里一位胖胖的、笑容璀璨的黑人女秘书带我去见院长,她评价我很适合这里。我好奇地问她怎么知道。她笑说,在面试的三个候选人中,你是唯一一个和我握手打招呼,还面带笑容说“谢谢”的人,其他两个都很寡言少语,不笑。她说,在这里你可以“just be yourself”,不用伪装。



午饭后回教室,我准备宣讲我的研究课题。在路上,突然萨苏的手机急促地响起,她的学生向她报告美国国家安全部的人进入校园搜捕非法移民。萨苏义愤填膺,及其生气地说,随便闯入校园搜捕,这真是一个police country,践踏人权。她说,要不是听你演讲,我就马上参加学生们的抗议。

在演讲的教室我遇见了最后两个与我的招聘相关的人: 一个是越南裔女教授兰,她研究在美国的越南移民的家庭关系以及女权主义电影理论和越南电影;另一个是中国人,也在search committee里、特意请来帮忙的戏剧系于教授,他毕业于中国中央戏剧学院,留学英国,后来到这里。曾帮助谢晋导演拍摄《鸦片战争》。兰教授温良礼让,帮助我安排好做演讲的电脑设备。

我讲的流畅,听的人聚精会神,还问了好多问题。兰教授甚至内行地问到中国第五代、第六代导演。演讲结束后,于教授走来和我握手,评价道:“you are very competitive, you are a serious scholar.”德里克也跑过来握手,说演讲very good. 安迪也走过来说我把中国文化和电影的研究课题置于整个国际学术界的理论争论的大框架之中,使像她这样不太了解中国的人也能看到这个课题的意义。

晚饭前没有什么安排了,于教授邀我到他办公室小坐。他告诉我, 申请这个职位的人100 多个,申请材料摞起来一尺半高。他一看我毕业于北大,又在大陆、香港等地做过多年记者,他就把我挑出来放在最后名单上了。别的教授看过我的简历和读过我的论文后,和他的选择一样。于教授估计search committee 会选我,但我说也许 “I am not good enough to be here.”他对我这种谦虚的态度很赞赏。他哪里知道我吸取了在里海的经验教训呢。可惜于教授不参与最后表决,因为他不是招聘系的教授。但他在search committee 里把我挑出来,就功不可没。美国大学招聘教授,必须系里的全体教授投票表决。系主任由教授轮流担任,也没有太大权利干涉其他教授的选择。所以候选人必须 “取悦”每位参与投票的人。在这里完全不可能像在中国那样靠关系和走后门。在同等水平和资历下,候选人的性格讨不讨人喜欢会起决定性的作用。我有位明大的中国同学就遇到了系里一半教授投他的票,另一半教授投另一个候选人的票的情况,结果系里为了不影响教授间的团结,干脆谁也不招聘了。这位同学最后就去了新加坡。


饭桌上大家聊很多学术动态,教授的趣闻等。茹西抨击刚获奖的奥斯卡影片《贫民窟的百万富翁》,说它是好莱坞商业模式的成功而不是现实主义的成功。大家都鼓励她马上给《纽约时报》写评论文章。我则和法拉谈到我们共同知道的拉丁美洲文化研究的著作。法拉其实很尖锐,她的观点更倾向于马克思主义的政治经济学,而我则更倾向于强调文化的能动作用,不大赞同 economic reductionism, 而认同英国文化学派先驱 Raymond Williams的论点。法拉于是问文化研究对于我的意义。我想起曾听过来明大访问的美国文化研究大师Lawrence Grossberg 的讲座,他提到文化研究的根本意义在于anti-capitalism.但我知道这个系的大部分教授主张 functional capitalism, 我本人喜欢一种社会主义与资本主义融合的“第三条道路”。于是我说文化研究对于我的意义就是 make sense of everyday life.我正高谈阔论间,突然想起在里海的经历,赶紧闭嘴,生怕别人认为我不谦和。但所有人都笑着问我怎么不说了,继续说呀,我们还想继续和你讨论呢。

晚餐结束后她们和我拥抱告别。我走过这么多地方,有的学校人很友好,但不够 intellectually stimulating; 有的地方有智识上的挑战性,但那里的人不够友好。 UCR是唯一一个既有挑战性,人又友好富于激情,致力于社会公平正义的地方。我真太喜欢这里的人和气氛了。

我在UCR的面试,加上路上时间,是周一到周三。周四我睡了懒觉。快中午时,电话突然想起,我接起来,对方说:我是UCR的米勒教授。我奇怪他为什么打电话给我,我不是面试完了刚回来吗。就听他说:我们准备给你offer.一霎那时我觉得我听错了,我刚回来呀,不会这么快吧?米勒教授说他们今天上午刚进行表决,全体教师voted you unanimously.我还是觉得不敢相信,问他:“Are you kidding me?”米勒教授回答:“I am not kidding you.”他还说:”everybody likes you.”狂喜像闪电击中了我,我欣喜地告诉米勒教授 how I am thrilled,这是我的 dream job。我喜欢那里的每一个人,我分享他们的理想和激情, 所有教授都 excellent. 我感到非常荣幸能和他们一起工作。最后我说,I am so delighted that I finally find my spiritual home!


得知我接受了这份工作,UCR的每一个人都发信向我祝贺,并热烈欢迎我。和我相熟的明大教授们也高兴万分,认为这是my best match。


北卡大学卡城分校过了几天也给了我offer.尤金娜打电话说,他们也一致投票给我。我就问他们的offer 有多少。尤金娜说,他们的系主任太忙还抽不出时间考虑我的offer有多少。她要先问我愿意不愿意上他们那去,愿意的话他们才开始考虑我的工资和福利,不愿意的话他们都不用浪费时间考虑这些了。竟然有这样滑稽可笑的offer! 我很生气,这哪里是吸引人才的样子!和 UCR 简直不能比。我回信礼貌谢绝了他们的offer.尤金娜回信说她尊重我的选择,但很遗憾我不能和他们一起工作了。



这就是我波诡奇绝的找工作经历。这正应了我们中国那句老话:祸福相依。“祸兮福之所依;福兮祸之所至。”如果去年有一家大学雇用我,我哪里会找到这么理想的工作和加州这么宜人的地方呢?有一位同学说得好:at right time, right place, with right people, you will get the right job.这也是美国这个国家的多样化的伟大,不论什么人,左派,右派,中间派,都能找到他的位置。

Life is full of ups and downs.这也许是上天对我八年艰辛和挫折的补偿吧。付出的终将得到回报。No pain, no gain.我终于可以离开寒冷的明尼苏达,到阳光灿烂的加利福尼亚去了。

我告诉那些还没有找到工作的同学:找不到工作不要悲观失望,找到工作也不要得意忘形。Life is a project to be well designed, life is also a journey. 把人生当作一个旅途,四处走走看看。风景好的时候,就停下来住一住;风景不好的时候,就继续向前走。最终你会找到最适合你的地方,而你多年的学业准备和人生经验的积累,也会在机遇到来时焕发绚丽的光彩。

由温迪张贴 @ 2009-03-30 10:18:11 (22886)

Monday, March 30, 2009

It's Your Turn, Sir?

The John Doe, who had stripped himself of any coverings, was seen reminding the communism official it's his turn to strip off. Standing behind him, are the cheering crowd of Chinese Netizens. The "news cartoon" was created by Mr. Kuang Biao. The cartoon quickly became a phenomenon itself. On one of the thousands websites that it had been trans-posted, it received over 1.6 replies within 9 days.

During the National Congress meeting two weeks ago, a minister level official was quoted as saying if people demanded officials to disclose their income, ordinary people would have to do it first. Now, many ordinary people are responding to the dare by going public with their belongings, all of them from savings, valuables, to number of dates. They are urging the government official to do the same.

An earlier post on the Sunshine Act.

Study Shows Playing FPS Games Enhances Eyesight

If you are having difficult in driving at night, or having a hard time to Photoshop designing, look no further than picking up a first person shooting (FPS) game from Best-Buy and starting playing it.

Study conducted by researchers at University of Rochester demonstrated playing video games, such as Unreal Tournament or Call of Duty 2, could significantly improve one's vision, especially in the contrast sensitivity. The lead research, Mr. Li Renjie is a PhD candidate who identifying himself of a broad range of interests including 'playing video games'. Go figure. Li graduated from USTC of China in 2004.

The full text brief communication which is titled "Enhancing the Contrast Sensitivity Function Through Action Video Game Training" is published online by Nature Neuroscience on March 29, 2009. The group also have a range of publications on impact of playing video games on human vision, by and large positive.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pulling the Life Tube

Are you going to pull that life tube knowing the person would be dying? Ten end-stage renal disease who have to depend on dialysis on daily basis had their life tube pulled by the Bureau of Health of Tongzhou, Beijing. The group of patients have no means to afford having a dialysis conducted in any hospital, so they pooled together their life money, and bought machines to do it at home.

A local newspaper Jinghua Times reported the home clinic as an example of failure of health system. The home clinic was created by money from the ten patients, and it had been used exclusively by the ten patients at cost. There's no physician, and no operator. However, after it made the news, local heath bureau stormed the clinic and announced it was illegal because it did not have a license.

Last night, at the time when the same newspaper interviewed one of the patient Wu Yan, she was already badly swollen. She said she had asked the bureau whether they could arrange her to be treated at any hospital, but they hanged up on her whenever they heard her voice.

If you can't afford to be treated, your voice of course do not count. Your life is worthless, and it must be better to pull the tube, for the sake of our Party and the "harmonic society".

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Are No Gays in China

The Hebei Youth Daily reported on March 25, 2009 a case in which a man was gang raped but he was legally sexually assaulted.

When police of Shijiazhuang arrived the scene of a robbery in the early morning of March 18, 2009. The male victim accused two men not only robber him of 19 RMB Yuan ($3), but also gang raped him. The police was able to apprehended the two suspects on the same day, but was unable to press charge because there was no sexual crime committed between two males according to Chinese law.

Consented sex between two males had been a crime, though, until a few years ago when the clause was removed from law.

While gays in China are enjoying a super relaxing atmosphere. They have open bars, gathering areas, weddings at Tian'anmen Square. However, lawmakers are reluctant to face sexual crimes committed by gays. Or maybe they are still dazzled on the fast changing world.

Coming back to the story, after consulting to legal department, police was not able to obtain arrest warrants on rape. The two suspects were charged on robbery and disturbance of piece. Because of the value involved is minimal $3, the duo might walk away without a dent.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Kimono Does not Go with Cherry Blossom

A group of local tourists were booed away from Wuhan University campus last Friday afternoon.

Wuhan University was taken as the headquarters of occupation force during WWII. The first batch of cherry trees were planted on campus around 1939 by Japanese army as a symbol of victory. Although cherry trees dies in 20-30 years, cherry tree populations has enjoyed a steadily growth ever since. Every year in the cherry blossom time, hundreds of thousands of Wuhan residents will come to Wuhan University to appreciate the scene. Wuhan University students will round up the entire campus, including adjacent road, hills and lakes with ropes, in order to charge a 'special cherry blossom fee'. However, guide brochure distributed at the entrant tells you the trees has been on campus 'forever'. It is a taboo to make any connection between cherry trees in Wuhan University and Japan.

When a group of 4 people, all with local accent, went to Wuhan University on March 21, 2009 to appreciate the cherry blossom, they were booed by a mob of Wuhan University students because a lady and a young woman were wearing kimono. Soon other tourists joined the students, and shouted anti-Japanese slogans. The group immediately stopped taking pictures, and took off kimonos. A reporter at the scene interviewed the family. They said they did not have specific intention, only thought kimono looked pretty with cherry blossoms.

A student who preferred to be anonymous told the reporter that it's unforgivable to make such connections between Japan and Wuhan University. The University would be ashamed if was connected to the humiliation of Japanese occupation which resulted more than 30 million Chinese civilians death. They would probably have to cut the symbols of Japanese occupation. However, it's crucial to the financial stability to keep the trees and revenue from cherry blossom tourism. A campus security officer interviewed vowed they will tighten up the security at entrance, and will not allow similar incidents to happen again.

According to the official web site, the Washington DC cherry blossom will take place between March 28 to April 12 in 2009. The peak bloom period will be from April 1-4.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Puzzles on Evolution Theories

The pictures pretty much explain themselves. On the left, the odds of ever had intercourse in relation to one's intelligence; on the right, a 2001 student survey displays ratio of virgins by major in the Wellesley College, an all girls school.

No wonder oversea Chinese male PhDs are mostly WSNs.

Halpern, C.T., Joyner, K., Udry, J.R. and Suchindran, C. 2000. Smart Teens Don't Have Sex (or Kiss Much Either). J Adolesc Health, 26(3):213-25.

Malloy J. 2007. Intercourse and Intelligence. Gene Expression, April 27, 2007

Fictitious Country and Fictitious People

What kind of people makes what kind of country. When young college students are angered by the corruption committed by politicians, they shouldn't ignore the fact that all those corrupted politicians were once young college kids with ambitions and, aspirations.

Connecticut Democrat Senator Christopher Dodd is the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. A provision he inserted in the stimulus plan allowed AIG executives to receive multimillion dollar bonuses after the company received $182 billion federal bail-out money, even when they screw up the company.

'Right Wing' radio hosts have been talking about the provision since last weekend, yet Mr. Dodd has the courage to swear to TV cameras on Tuesday that he knew nothing about the provision. He was seen fussing, throwing things like a mad street cat when asked about it by reporters. Overnight, on Wednesday, he suddenly confessed that he inserted the provision himself, however, on request from the Treasury.

Of course, according to a WSJ article, "Administration officials said the Treasury didn't suggest any language or say how the amendment should be changed. They said they noted legal issues that could likely lead to challenges, but was the end of their involvement. The official said Mr. Dodd and Congress made the final changes on their own." The nation will see a newer version of Mr. Dodd's account the next morning.

So how the hell did Mr. Dodd named the Chairman of the powerful Senate Banking Committee, even amid tremendous concerns over his ethics in the housing giants Fannie May and Freddi Mac, which actually led the nation to the current crisis? Mr. Dodd was nominated by the Democratic leadership, and supported by his colleagues in the Senate. That's why. The entire Democratic delegate on the Capital Hill has been rotten to its root.

Having that said, is there an escape by claiming "people is good, only politicians are evil?" That's the cliche made up by President Regan on the case of former USSR. That claim was never correct. What kind of people makes what kind of country. Chinese people chose the Communism for a reason 60 years ago, and they deserve what they get if they do not make another choice today.

Talking to many foot soldiers working in the financial sector, some traders, some quanta analyst. It's amazing that they still agree that had the Fed bought out all the 'sub-prime' mortgage last year, the US could have been business as usual. Well, even many college professors share the view. For people like this, they deserve what they get.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Rough Road Ahead For CS PhDs After the Great Leap Forward

Two interesting charts from CRA's computing degree and enrollment trends report. It's amazing to see the disturbing jump in PhD productions from 2002 to 2008. Because of the difficult in job market, the number of PhD productions doubled in five years following the burst of IT bubbles. With the ongoing economic crisis, the picture isn't looking good in the next decade.

It's equally interesting to see that 2002-2003 are the best years to find an academia position with largest openings available.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Talking About Economy Service

A Frederick Maryland lady was sentenced to 15 months in jail for money laundering. Madam Delcid runs a prostitution ring in three brothels in Maryland and Virginia. According to her plea agreement, Adriana Delcid charges $30 per client, and her girls would receive $15, or half of the $30, for each assignment.

One of the crimes Delcid had admitted in the plea was failing to ask for legal working status of some alien prostitutes.

Running a business is never easy. Although Delcid made over $340,000 in the 29 months prior to her arrest in May 2008, she would have to pay rent and utilities at the brothels, pay her mortgage, make the payment on the vehicle used to transport the prostitutes, pay sex workers and brothel managers, purchase supplies, and open two businesses in Florida.

source: DoJ

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Most Cited Paper 1998-2008

Countries that produced the most paper citations between 1998-2008

Rank .. Country .. Papers .. Citations .. Per Paper Citations
1 US 2,959,661 42,269,694 14.28
2 Germany 766,146 8,787,460 11.47
3 England 678,686 8,768,475 12.92
9 Australia 267,134 2,784,738 10.42
10 China 573,486 2,646,085 4.61
11 Spain 292.146 2,602,330 8.91

The above rank does not truly capture the fast rising of research activity in China, or by Chinese descends in the world. Most mainland Chinese students started going abroad to study advanced research around mid 1990s. Research within China received a major lift when a fraction of this block returned to China, after 2005. A most recent ranking is the Top Ten people who produced the hottest topics in the year 2007-2008.

Rank .. Name .. Institution .. Field .. Hot Papers
1 Kuo-Chen Chou Gordon Life Science Institute Biochemistry/Bioinformatics 17
2 Hong-Bin Shen Shanghai Jiao Tong University Biochemistry/Bioinformatics 13
6 Ji-Huan He Dong Hua University Mathematics 10
8 Zhong Lin Wang Georgia Institute of Technology Neuroscience 9

Source: ScienceWatch.com

Friday, March 13, 2009

When Bernite Madoff Dressed Up as Warren Buffet

In the past several years, Mr. Tang Wenzhen has been hailed as the Chinese Buffet for a reason. Mr. Tang claimed to grasp a special technique that can guarantee 1% return in each and every week, regardless the overall stock market trends. Mr. Tang was actually able to beat that in real world trading. In the year of 2006, Mr. Tang was able to make $940K on $1 million investment for his clients. In 2007, Tang was able to make $500K for every $1 million investment. That's not even the impressive part yet. Mr. Tang claimed only 1% of clients' investment was entered the money market, when the rest 99% was sitting in traditional market, such as bond or saving accounts the whole time. In other words, Mr. Tang was able to make close to $1 million with $10K in one year for all of his clients. At the same time, his clients could sit assured that their money was safe because 99% of thier money are sitting in fixed accounts, not being traded by any means.

The problem? There are many people who believed in Tang's masterful trading skills, and handed him all their savings.

In an open letter to his clients, Mr. Tang just admitted his fund had been wiped out to nothing after a major withdrawal. In the letter, he admitted that his strategy was to attract more money by any means, so that he could have larger leverage in the further (to actually make money for his clients). However, the targeted goal was never made. Mr. Tang also revealed that he had not paid attention on managing the money, but rather focusing on absorbing new money. Mr. Tang vowed he would pay back his clients' money within one year.

While Modoff manages investiment for wealthy Jews, the audiences of 'Weizhen Tang' Corporation are mostly new Chinese immigrants in Canada. In addition, he befriended Mr. Lou Jiwei, the managing director of China state-owned national investment company through Professor Daniel Xu. Tang helped Mr. Lou in making the investment plan of the $200 billion state fund.

发信人: thehitman (hitman), 信区: Stock
标 题: 唐炜臻告全体投资人书--ZT
发信站: BBS 未名空间站 (Wed Mar 11 10:14:53 2009)


2009 年2月27日,是我的投资人感到震撼、伤心和悲痛的日子,也是我最痛苦的日子,是我最怕发生、但终于发生了的一天。因为我的罪过,深深地伤害了你们!我向你们请罪!






<本文发表于: 相约加拿大:枫下论坛 www.rolia.net/forum >


※ 来源:·WWW 未名空间站 海外: mitbbs.com 中国: mitbbs.cn·[FROM: 199.89.]

alternative source: Wenxuecity

Tang's scheme did not go undetected. Tow months ago, as a last straw struggle, Tang openly demonstrated his trading skills. Mr. Zhao of 51.CA shared his observation and concerns:

加国无忧 51.CA 2009年1月30日 01:00 来源:本网特稿 作者:赵平波







唐老师的第二奇特体现在其操盘交易的战术:按照唐老师的说法是“不贪”,赚钱有个上限,每天赚到3-40万就不再赚了。所以1月26日的表演,唐老师从8 点半开始交易,到10点半就嘎然而止,而唐老师公布的表演是10点才开始,以至于许多第一天的观战者都感到纳闷:刚刚才来看,仅仅瞧了一会儿,怎么就休兵了?原来这是唐老师的交易的战术:赚钱有够。



















连续输2次呢,第3次再赌2X2 = 4块,这下若赢了,今天还是又赢1块钱……



唱唱反调 on DW has a blog on this last year:

Monday, December 22nd, 2008 8:53 pm


唐炜臻是骗子还是天才? 首先我们先看看唐炜臻的两段话:

(1) 引自<唐炜臻1%是一种风险控制方法>(http://www.wtang.com/wtang/bbs/forum_detail.php?MSwyOCwxMTk2NywsLCwsMjAwOA==) 作者:唐炜臻, 日期:2008-11-10: 唐炜臻提出每周1%盈利目标和方法,我个人的理解是:以连续稳定的微盈利(每周1%,甚至进一步细分为每天0.2%)累积成一个宏观上的大盈利(年回报50%左右),它的创造性和吸引力在于50%年回报的实现方法上

(2) 引自<唐炜臻金融投资的安全性,兼谈马多夫投资>(http://www.dwnews.com/gb/MainNews/Business/2008_12_22_11_33_54_881.html) 作者:唐炜臻 日期:2008-12-21: 唐炜臻金融投资的理论基础是1%,简单说就是只用1%的资金在市场搏击,追求每周1%的回报,整体上没有杠杆,它的核心就是风险控制

很吸引人! 但更象"花言巧语"或"回避"真实问题:

(a) 数学问题: 唐炜臻说只用1%的资金在市场搏击, 获得每周1%盈利! 这似乎很让人安心, 很保险啊! 但在数学上存在两种算法! 1%的盈利是基于1%的投资还是整体投资? 这可决定他是骗子还是天才!

(a.1) 1%的盈利是基于1%的投资?: 每周投入10000元获利一元(1%投资的1% = 0.01%)不算很狂妄, 即使这个月赔了, 也有机会找回, 毕竟只是4元(0.04%). 如果唐炜臻说的"只用1%的资金追求每周1%的回报"是这个含义, 还有可信度, 但这意味者你投资10000元每周获利1元, 52周获利52元, 年回报率为52/10000 = 0.52%

(a.2) 1%的盈利是基于全部的投资?: 唐炜臻说只用1%的资金在市场搏击, 这意味着如果你有10000元, 你实际只有10000元的1% - 100元进入市场 - 而这100元要获得你总投资额的1% - 另一个100元! 知道这是说什么吗? 这是说唐炜臻能够每周让你的"实际投入市场的资金"翻倍(100%回报). 一个风险控制的基金竟然能够一周保证"100%"回报? 鬼信! (关键词: 简单说就是只用1%的资金在市场搏击,追求每周1%的回报)!

(b) 市场操作实际: 唐炜臻说只用1%的资金在市场搏击! 这似乎让人觉得很保险, 但如果按(a.2)的算数, 每周100%回报可能只有上帝做的到! Madoff只保证每年10%的回报率!

(本文发表于首页时事·历史·军事, 已被阅读835次)


1. 骗子的可能性大的评论
December 22nd, 2008 at 9:37 pm

2. 唱唱反调的评论
December 22nd, 2008 at 10:56 pm

回 1楼, 这是唐炜臻的隐私, 没有答案, 引用唐炜臻公司说法(http://www.wtang.com/wtang/bbs/forum_detail.php?MSw0MiwxLCwsLCwyMDA4, 作者:MNT 日期:2008-10-21)目前管理投资资金近1亿美元

Investment Dealer Association of Canada imposed a fine upon Mr. Tang's wife, Xiao Hong, when she overtraded her client. In two months, she made $20K commissions out of $40K of a client. Her license was suspended for 10 years.

Throughout Tang's scheme, there is one person who had played a critical role. His name is Daniel Xu (Xu dianqing), a professor of Beijing University. Xu not only openly promoted Tang's Ponzi scheme, but also connected Tang to top government officials, including a managing director of a $200 billion state fund, Mr. Lou Jiwei, who instructed Tang to make the plan for the investment of the fund.

Xu is an entertainer in the education business, and a influential one. In 2007-2008, Xu was involved in a reality show on housing market of Shenzhen, Guangdong in which Xu proclaimed that the housing price of Shenzhen would rise non-stop as river flows into the ocean. Further he make a public bet on the housing price of Shenzhen in a one year term. Xu lost the bet.

Mr. Lou Jiwei, an alternate member of the Central Committee of the Communisim Party, is currently the chairman and chief executive officer of the China Investment Corporation (CIC), even though he was known to have little experience in finance and had to rely on experts such as Mr. Tang to make decision for him.

Watch out Mr. Lou. Do you know the money belongs to the Party? You are playing with fire!

Obama's CIO Raided by FBI

Vivek Kundar, who had been tapped to be the Obama Administration's Chief Information Officer was raided by FBI on corruption related investigation.

Sanjay Gupta, who had been tapped by Obama to be the Surgeon General withdrew from the nomination after mulling about it for a week.

So far so good Obama's Bollywood complexion.

A program on today's POTUS urged any potential Obama nominees to pay their outstanding federal tax before April 15th.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


A 'long lasting' online gathering place for some privileged Chinese socialites was finally put to death yesterday at 2 pm.

PAOWANG.COM started as an exclusive, by invitation only forum ten years ago. Although it opened up membership gradually over years, but the two most influential boards were never open for public registrations. Most core members of PAOWANG were beneficiaries of government policies, and stay in bed with the government on most issues. Nevertheless, there might be a little complains or mocking here and there, but the mainstream tone had always been pro-government, and to an extend, pro-communism ruling.

The order to have the website shut down came in a surprise. The River Crab (harmonic cops) must have a hangover somehow.

论坛:作者:洋洋大观发表时间:2009-03-12 20:51:45










For the time being, Paowang stays in a rental place here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Yellow Dog Congresswomen

The Great Leader Chairman Mao has said, "it's not difficult for someone to do the right thing once, but it's a rare virtue for anyone to be doing the right thing in his entire life." Eighty years old Shen Jilan is exactly such a perfect person who has always been doing the right thing throughout her entire life.

Shen is the only representative who has stayed in the office from the 1st National People's Congress (NPC) to the 11th. She was interviewed during the 11th Congress which has been in session since March 5th.

Shen is deputy secretary of a local party branch of Changzhi, Shanxin. She had seen Chairman Mao, Premier Zhou, and President Jiang Zemin in her long political career. In the interview, she proudly exclaimed that in her 55 years tenure of national congresswoman, she had never voted against any bill. She is always supportive of goals and guidelines laid out by our Party.

We are proud to have our representatives so loyal to our Party. We love our Party. We love our Congress!

That Flag of Terror

In the global economy downturn, people and politicians alike are looking for a top point to vent. Some found China an easy target. Face it, the Communism government has trouble writing all over its body, like a 30 years tattoo artist who has no inches of skins haven't been inked. However, Tibetan issue is not one of the crimes committed by the communism reign.

Despite historic ties and records, Tibet has been under the China central government for hundreds of years, and there's no pragmatic point to challenge this status guo, unless you are willing to fight the People's Liberation Army. Unlike 20 years ago, In this battle, the PLA will be fighting for a cause which ordinary Chinese and Tibetan people will swear by it, and stand by it.

The Associated Press quoted a western protester dressed in costumes in London saying, 'I can hold this flag here, but a Tibetan person couldn't hold their flag in their country.' The orange flag with a lion standing in front of snow mountains was banned in China territory. Anyone who display such a flag will get into trouble from Chinese police.

However, what the protester does not know is what the flag represents in Tibetan history. The flag is associated with the darkest time in Tibet. It is a reminder of hatred, killing, blood and torture. Under the slavery system, a landlord or a monk would make a leader decoration out of a slave alive on a good day. Westerner do not think why monks are most enthusiastic on the 'free' Tibetan, and most Tibetan people living in Tibet are against it. Nobody would be against 'freedom', ordinary Tibetan people are against violence, hatred, torture and bloodshed.

For Chinese people, including those Tibetan natives living in Tibet, The flag is not a symbol of 'freedom', but a symbol of terror. Banning a flag of terror is the right thing any government are mandate to do, regardless whether it's a communism government, or a western government. The flag quote shows the AP reporter 'Jennifer Peltz' either lack of fundamental knowledge of Tibet, or an evil taste of blood (of peaceful Tibetan people).

Monday, March 09, 2009

Cultural Shock

Many Chinese immigrants and visitors told us they did not have any cultural shock when they stepped on the ground of US of A for the first time. Because of the free flowing of information and the tremendous interest Chinese always have on American culture, they would probably have learned everything about US before they board their flight. Actually, since most travel booklets tend to exaggerate the cultural differences to show off the depth and broadness of the book, readers were often disappointed when they did not enjoy the cultural shock they had expected. Human beings are always interesting to observe.

They are many myths about the US of A among Chinese immigrants. Chinese parents are especially puzzled on how to raise their kids in an acceptable and responsible way. There is a Chinese saying that you harsher you discipline your child, the better he will grows up into. What are they going to do in the US where spanking their own kids is a crime?

American kids are not different than Chinese kids, and among a small sampling (more than a dozen though), all American parents admitted they hit their kids as a punishment when they did not obey rules. Furthermore, even school teachers could hit a naughty kid, in some states.

Another myth is you can't share a drink with your kids. There is no law on a legal age to drink or to smoke. Having a drink with Dad in a local bar was one of top childhood memory a child could have. What would life be without being able to drink with your Dad?

Well, it turned out it's legal in most places to have a drink with your minor kids. Serving alcohol to your neighbor's kids may be different though, depends on where you live. Lanora Lucas, a Frederick Maryland resident was cleared for furnishing alcohol to a minor after her lawyer showed she did not have a chimerical license. Two kids, one 13 and one 16 were hospitalized with alcohol poisoning in a party held by Ms. Lucas. In other words, watch out for minors when you are a commercial dealer.

Dartmouth Students Demand "Buy American"

Dartmouth Student Media GGMM protested against the College's decision to name an Asian President. A daily community news service composed by a staff writer of Generic Good Morning Message (GGMM) questioned the appointment, and asked the college to 'Buy American', a strategy to pull the US out of the current economic slowdown painted out by President Barack Hussein Obama. The inspiring message was sent to the Dartmouth community on March 3, 2009 after the College appointed an Asian American President, following the suit of the United States and the Grand Ole Party (to name a non-Caucasian leadership for the first time in history):

Date: March 3, 2009 11:06:39 AM EST
Subject: Good Morning

This is the Generic Good Morning Message for March 3, 2009.

Yesterday came the announcement that President of the College James Wright will be replaced by Chinaman Kim Jim Yong. And a little bit of me died inside.

It was a complete supplies.

On July 1, yet another hard-working American's job will be taken by an immigrant willing to work in substandard conditions at near-subsistent wage, saving half his money and sending the rest home to his village in the form of traveler's checks. Unless "Jim Yong Kim" means "I love Freedom" in Chinese, I don't want anything to do with him. Dartmouth is America, not Panda Garden Rice Village Restaurant.

Y'all get ready for an Asianification under the guise of diversity under the actual Malaysian-invasion leadership instituted under the guise of diversity. It's a slippery slope we are on. I for one want Democracy and apple pie, not Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen. I know I sure as shit won't ever be eating my Hop dubs bubs with chopsticks. I like to use my own two American hands.

We can understand that all Colored people look alike in their group in American eyes. That's probably how Micheal Steel was tapped to head the Republican Party. Either the party members can't tell Michael from Obama, or they were count on ordinary Americans can't tell. Anyway, Dr. Kim may just look like another yellow man. However, as a privileged person who can actually tell, let me tell you, American, Dr. Kim is not a Chinese. So dear Dartmouth community, next time when you were about to set Dr. Kim on fire, please fuck off the Chinese reference because that is be an insult for a Korean, whom Dr. Kim really is!

Update: Despite the enthusiastic support poured from the entire Dartmouth community, the College and the GGMM decided that the staff writer would keep anonymous, citing 'diversification' considerations. It is only known that the hero who actually placed the message on the server is a GGMM staff writer Jack McNeilly, traced by his EMail address. However, any connection between Jack and the writer would be an unregulated stretch of imagination.

Update: Students and alumni at the Harvard University, Dr. Kim's previous employer, applauded the courage demonstrated by Dartmouth neighbors. The Board of Trustee of Harvard University had passed a motion to mandate a Caucasian replacement for the position left by Dr. Kim.

Most Seagull Readers Reside In US and Mainland China

In a one year reader's survey, 222 readers responded by indicating their current residence. 38% readers said they lived in the US, followed by 36% Mainland China. Taiwan (2%) and Hong Kong (2%) collectively represent 4%, while 11% was reported to be based in European countries.

There are also 9% of readers appeared in the category of 'Rest of the World', a surprisingly large group. Where could it be? Japan? Australia? Africa? Very interesting.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

How Long Are You Gonna Hold On?

If the 'economic downturn' is actually as bad as economists are telling us, then how long are you going to hold on the stocks in your hands? Will you still be alive twenty years from now on?

It took 12 years from 1930 to 1942 for the stock market to start a serious growing, and another 13 years when it recovered to its pre-collapse level. That's 25 years in total. However, many people argued that the US economy was saved only by the world war.

It was stuck on 10,000 points for 17 years from 1966 to 1983.

Now we were told it is the worst since 1920. Assuming the US economy will regain its energy, how many years are we looking at? Of course, the good news is that no matter what that number is, we could subtract 1 from it because we have already in it since the beginning of 2008.

Sunshine Act, The Premier Had a Dream

Premier Wen Jiabao stated that he would want to see the enacting of a Sunshine Act when he chatted with Chinese Netizens. A Feb 19 article published in the People's Daily mentioned a Sunshine Act had been formally sitting in the legislature pipeline since 1994. However, communist officials opposed the measure. To be precise, 97% of government officials are against the act. This is the only official number we know on this subject.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Beijing University Dean A Rapist

Wang Xihan, Deputy Dean of Minglun College of Beijing University was caught attempting to rape an employee Ms. Wang in a hotel. The incident happened in Zhengzhou, Henan 11 pm on Feb 26, 2009. Beijing University has blocked the news, and had online forums and sites removed related postings.

Zhengzhou police released Dean Wang with no charge. The victim returned to home in Changchun, Jilin. Henan TV aired the raw footage they took at the scene.

Beijing University is a deputy-ministry level agent in the Chinese government hierarchy.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Value of The Poorer

History has demonstrated repeatedly, the poorer has higher value, through the mouth of their politicians.

Days after September 11, 2001, while the country was still in the shock mood, then Governor of Louisiana Murphy (Mike) Foster, Jr. announced that people of Louisiana would donate several multimillion dollar firetrucks to the New York City. Governor specifically made the point that people of the poorest state was the first to jump in the help when the richest city was in need.

The people of Louisiana just did it again. Governor Piyush "Bobby" Jindle announced that the state would not accept the federal stimulus funds, because people of Louisiana would be able to go through this by their own hard work. Of course, Governor Jindle would not chip in to help people of Louisiana to go through it. Jindle instructed LSU system to cut $101 million, or 15.7% of its state general fund budget. This is on top of $29 million already cut from the LSU system in January.

It is interesting that similar pattern could be observed not only in the flag of the free world US of A, but also in the last communism stronghold China. Officials from poorest provinces are always seen most politically correct to volunteer more national tax contribution.

Is it people of poorer areas are always of higher value standard?