Donnerstag, 30. Oktober 2008

earthquake & eclipse

2008 was a rollercoaster year for China and its people. The earthquake, the Olympic Games, the unrests in Tibet and now also the financial crisis, which is probably going to hurt Chinese economy more than the government wants to admit. A Swiss economist, Marc Faber, even predicts that Chinese growth of economy could slow down to 3% per year. Anyway, this guy is famous for his pessimistic predictions - but also for his habit to be right; and personally I believe that he knows what he's talking about, as he's been living in Asia for now more than 35 years and also predicated the Asia crisis in 1997, which destroyed more than 70% of the money on Japanese stock markets - sustainably!

But now I wonder: What might 2009 be like?
According to an ancient Chinese legend, earthquake and eclipse precede tremendous changes in social or political order. The earthquake we already had in may 08; also we had a small eclipse on august 1st - and there's going to be a larger one in June 2009.
What nonsense, you might think - but in a lot of Chinese people's mind, nature is led by heaven - and heaven decide who should govern the country. If the country is not governed well, there are natural disasters - that's how heaven tells China that it needs a new government.

Beside superstition, there are of course some more facts making 2009 quite a promising year:

- real estate crisis in China: what was not mentioned in Western media, might be a major problem in near future: Chinese real estate markets are totally overrated, because a long time, real estate used to be the only opportunity people had to invest, and a lot of local officials abused this fact to make their own money, too - and increase the price of flats and houses virtually. Now that the central government is fighting corruption, it's getting too hot for a lot of them. And the inflation caused by rising resources prices and the strength of the Chinese currency due to the financial crisis in the west force a lot of investors to sell there investments, liquefy there money - and this would have made the Chinese real estate bubble burst, if the government had not introduced a penalty tax of 100% (!) for sales of empty apartments!
Now of course the investors are in quite a bad situation; they feel betrayed and need money - but they could only sell their real estates for half or less of the price they would have got before the penalty tax; if they can sell it.
That might lead to big troubles for Chinese economy as it stops people from investing AND consuming and adds an inner threat to local economy, which is already suffering from the financial crisis that strongly affects Chinese exports.

- 60 years China: October 1st 2009 will be the 60th birthday of the people's republic of China and therefore make great quantities of people come together - which has always been dangerous to the communist party of China.

- 90th anniversary of the May fourth movement and 20th anniversary of the Tian'men massacre:
In 1919, the student's movement against Japan was the beginning of nationalism in China and led in the foundation of the communist party in 1921.
In 1989, students were demonstrating for free speech and democracy went on a hunger strike - and thousands of them were killed by Chinese military in a bloody massacre to prevent the unrests from spreading and to safeguard the party's power.

Let's see what's it going to be like in 2009 - the situation is quite promising, at least.

Sonntag, 26. Oktober 2008


That's probably the most fitting word to describe my actual situation. I'm now in my final term of high school and I stopped going to university beside school because I thought I'd be very busy in this term - but that was a total misestimation.
The final term in my school seems to be nothing more than just an excuse for teachers to not have to correct the final exams of the FMS and the matura classes - the 12 weeks school we have are just another occasion to chit-chat with classmates, but no opportunity to learn anything new.

In general, I must say I've made quite a lot of mistakes in the past 3.5 years, and the most severe out of them is following the minimization principle: define a goal and use least possible effort to reach it.
Thus I only learned what appeared useful for me - and nothing more. That seems to be quite reasonable, especially because we're told that universities will accept every student with a Swiss Matura diploma, only in a few cases ask for a numerus clausus, an entrance exam, that everyone holding a Matura can take. What is true for all Swiss universities, does not fit foreign ones. I've been recently suggested to study in the London School of Economics, Europe's leading economy university. But unfortunately they demand - guess what - at least a 5.0 average for Swiss students. That's something I could have reached easily by putting a little more efforts in French and music classes - if only I knew that it could be useful someday.
Nevertheless, complaining that one can only study in the University of St. Gallen seems rather hypocritical, as most of the top students in countries like China can only dream of studying there. So I made up my mind, decided to stop complaining about my own imaturity and make the best out of this situation. If I still want an LSE master in 3 years, I change university after accomplishing my bachelor!

A digression concerning a Chinese who wants to study in St. Gallen:
Therefore he first of all needs to graduate from high school with a top mark, then go to university and study three years, then learn German and afterwards pass the entrance exam of the uni. Sounds insane, but it's true.