Free and open


How would you describe the era you are now in?
To me, Charles Dickens’ words have already answered this:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,
It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,
It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,
We had everything before us, we had nothing before us.”

It’s been a while since the last post. A lot has happened. Nothing has happened.
Life has been the usual, for us. But for some, it can’t be any more different. The new leadership took over power which means a tough time for their opponents. As we like to put it, “New broom sweeps clean” or literally “new official has three measurements”, we have observed a few. A few corrupted officials were exposed; more scandals are coming through. Sometimes, you are just amazed at how much money they dare to collect. Houses of millions worth, mistresses one after another, how and where did this amount of money come from? New leaders say they will not tolerate corruption, so will this trend of exposure continue? I’m not sure. One exposure means thousands hidden and I dare not think how many more these are. What’s the hope for future? Or do we, ordinary people, have a future here?

I used to despise those who immigrated abroad. I thought this would never, never happen to me. However, at that time, I didn’t know the kind of society I would be in when I grew up. Most of the friends I know are talking about immigration. I love my country. There is no other place that can compete with my country. However, now I know “country” and “government” are different. I still love the culture, the customs, the people and the places. I still want to learn more about the history, the architecture, and everything. I firmly believe that the future of the country is bright and things will be better. We are now in the middle of change. But I also believe that for my generation and maybe for the next, we will be in struggle and there’s no hope.

Maybe I’m a coward but I want to live in a simple, safe way, to be able to breathe clean air and eat safe food, I want to know that my efforts will win me an apartment, not that I’m always chasing after the increasing housing price. I want to be able to speak freely, and move freely. I want to know that when after serving the country, when I’m retired, I will have enough pension for living. Now because of a stupid Residence Certificate (hukou), I pay high tax to Beijing but can only receive pension from my small hometown because I’m not a Beijing citizen. The pension of my hometown can be only one third or worse of that of Beijing. Is this the kind of future I expect myself to be in when I’m old? Here money is the most important. People are labelled and classified by how much of money they make. It’s the only thing they talk about. Here I am lost.

I’m lucky that I’m in one of the most respected companies and the company is really great. What’s funny is it’s hard for us to do business here because of censorship. There is a global campaign to pledge free and open Internet but I’m afraid of signing since I am worried about the censorship. Will they track me down? What will they do? Back to 2006, I could use Youtube and Facebook. There was no problem against Google search or Gmail. Now it’s difficult to connect to google services and Youtube and FB are blocked ( the list can go a long way). I have never felt this isolated and constraint.

For those that are braver than me, please check this out:


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