Let me open with an apology. Orientation has been SUPER SUPER busy and I really haven’t found the time to add an update. I actually was worried this was going to be yet another hobby neglected and tossed aside, but I have returned!
And now, a Week in Review, Concavity style. A few facts:
1. Mama Kim’s Korean BBQ Truck kicks Halal’s ass. Sorry Muhammad.
2. I’ve experienced the Providence rain, and it is exactly as you would expect.
3. Nice Slice ONLY BARELY is outclassed by New Pizza Town.
4. Brown University has a Ryland Clarke. His name is Barrett Hazeltine.
5. Summer break is over??? Kills me.
6. You should probably follow my lead and not take any classes on Friday. I win.
OK, so this might be a stretch for some of you, but do you remember at the end of season 2 of Gossip Girl where Blair dismisses Serena with a quote something along the lines of “have fun braiding your hair and joining a drum circle?” Well… less than 24 hours after arriving on College Hill, I was in fact invited to a drum circle for WaterFire on September 10th. Be there. It’s gonna be embarrassing for me.
This is probably something you should know about me: I get myself into some real sticky situations by running my mouth. Exhibit A:
John Prince: I’m playing at WaterFire on the 10th.
Me: What do you play?
JP: African drums.
JP: That’s right, man. You play?
Me: Yeah. I mean I haven’t played in like four -
JP: Awesome you should come down and play with us!
Me: Wait but -
JP: We’ve got an extra drum and everything it’ll be great!
WaterFire. September 10th. Be there.
Do not be surprised if you see these five names linked together some time in the future. China, for a decade now that infallible bastion of stability and steady growth, has a really serious problem: inflation.
Now, inflation by itself? Not necessarily so terrible - it encourages investment - but for China, a country that has essentially financed its growth off of an artificially depressed currency value, it could prove catastrophic. Already, the Mandarin character for inflation has been declared the character of the year for 2010.
HERE is where the real danger comes: China has a massive population of migrant workers living in its cities. These migrants, known as “waidi ren,” have been the driving force behind China’s seemingly improbable growth since the early 1990s. They go out (chuqu) from their small, impoverished villages in search of a new life. A particularly good narrative about some of the women who do this is Factory Girls by Leslie Chang. Though a bit repetitive, it is definitely worth reading. Unfortunately, the migrants face the specter of being second class citizens in the cities due to the “hukuo” system that ties access to social services to the location of one’s parents’ birthplace. The government also manages to limit their movements due to a Mao-era internal passport system. Thus, Chinese migrants often can’t access basic human services like education and health care. In turn, a series of illegal but necessary schools have cropped up around cities like Beijing to educate the migrants’ children. This summer, however, the CCP has started cracking down on these schools, demolishing them by the hundreds.
On top of this impending social unrest, China faces a massive demographic problem. As columnist Tom Friedman pointed out, the “one-child policy” has done some serious damage. Chinese families have to make a transition from two parents supporting one child to one adult supporting two elderly people. This is a doable transition, but it will require a serious transformation of the Chinese economy to include more service and white-collar jobs.
This situation is an absolute tinderbox. Soon, just like in Egypt, the “waidi ren” in Beijing and Shenzen will face a situation not unlike their brethren in Cairo (migrants tended to ignore the one-child policy even when it was at its strictest - one of the benefits of being essentially off the grid): stagnating wages, rising costs, no education, limited freedom, no prospects, and an axe to grind. China is being pulled apart from above (elderly folk) and below (migrants) The CCP will have to make drastic changes to the way it handles its migrants or it may find itself facing a rebellion of unimaginable proportions.
Today is my last day before college.
And here… we… go.
Lots of anxiety, lots of excitement - can’t wait to see how it all plays out! Not to worry, I’ll only be redoubling my efforts up in Providence. Besides, I’ve got 10 days to be completely dry and sober (#IHeartAntibiotics), so what else am I gonna do?
So, not only did hurricane Irene arrive in New York City at an ungodly hour not at all conducive to live-blogging, but there also wasn’t really much to talk about. It rained. Hard. A few basements got flooded. But where was Jake Gyllenhaal fleeing from the decapitated form of the Statue of Liberty or the Cloverfield monster? I’m gonna have to say, I’m pretty disappointed in you, Irene.
Until next time, my catastrophe-obsessed readers! Here’s a fun Jim Cantore link for your enjoyment (I think this is actually what happens when he goes on vacation):
If you’ve ever taken the 7 train into Queens and looked left, you’ve seen it: a decrepit warehouse made almost unrecognizable by the incredible cocktail of aerosol and human creativity that lines its exterior. This mountain of entirely legal graffiti, “aerosol art” to its devotees, is 5pointz, a graffiti Mecca in Long Island City. It has been called the “United Nations of graffiti.”
Look, you can think what you want about your everyday graffiti, but anyone who has seen the work at 5pointz knows it’s true art. Unfortunately, 5pointz is in danger of being destroyed. The landlord, Jerry Wolkoff, wants to tear the warehouse down and replace it with two 30-story apartment towers. I don’t begrudge Mr. Wolkoff the right to earn a profit, which I’m sure these towers would do, but I urge him and city officials to consider what we would lose in the process. Below is the link to a petition to save 5pointz: