Hi everyone! Hope you are all doing well. I'm really looking forward to meeting all the new 2017s on campus soon.
2016s are just finishing up our final quarter of our first year (!) and it certainly has flown by. I can't believe finals are coming up in 3 weeks! As Sandeep mentioned, we have Anderprom coming up this Saturday. It's a chance for all Anderson (full time, FEMBAs, & EMBAs) to hang out--and a bit of a farewell to the 2014s what are graduating in less than a month! It should be a good time. Definitely something for the 2017s to look forward to next year.
Now we have day 3 of Alex's trip to Hong Kong.
We had two more lectures from CUHK professors, these covered international and internal political affairs. Mark Sheldon, was a Chinese politics expert. He covered a wide range of topics and listening to him was like drinking from a fire hose. That said, it was one of the most useful and engaging lectures we had.
Sheldon discussed important trends in urbanization, in political reforms over the last 3-4 decades and the political and nationalistic outlook of the Chinese people and government. According to Sheldon, Westerners often think of China as a uniform block of culture and political ideology. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that China is controlled chaos. As long as the government is able to sustain >7% GDP growth people seem pretty contented. However, if that should dip too dramatically, a lot of underlying cultural or regional tensions will emerge.
On the foreign relations front, China is trying to assert itself by flexing military muscle in the region and has abutted the US, Japan and other major regional powers.
North Korea and Taiwan were interesting issues. China seems to like having N. Korea in place to buffer it from S. Korea. It has tried to develop an economy using a growth model like its own in N. Korea, but does not seem to be succeeding.
For Taiwan, China has been in the process of signing trade deals that will give it greater access. While we were in Hong Kong, Taiwanese students were on the streets of Taipei protesting the deal because it is perceived to give too much control to China.
Prof Stephen Frost – covered the environment in China. Environmental sustainability is a critical issue for the Chinese. The incredible economic growth in China has come at a great environmental cost. While the central government is trying to change regulations to clean up the Chinese environment, enforcement at the local level is near to non-existent. May local officials are bribed by the businesses they regulate.
This means business are given license to dump toxins into local rivers and pollute the air and drinking water. Interestingly, the Chinese government is well aware of the issue. The problem seems to be that permitting for businesses and enforcement of regulation are tied together under the same local authority. If the Central government was really serious about enforcement, it would have to separate those two functions.
Prof. Frost showed us a video of a colleague who was documenting polluters through satellite imaging. However, the Chinese legal system doesn’t allow for civil torts against polluters. So, public enforcement of the environmental laws is nearly impossible.
In the afternoon, we went to see the 10K Buddha’s. It was a small oasis of calm in the middle of busy Sha Tien. Although, it was a bit odd to see a gift shop in the middle of the shrine. The Buddhas and the monks themselves were beautiful and some were even comical. I did not see any that reminded me of classmates, but I did see one that had the same sweet mustache as Professor Freixes.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club was a blast. I ended up using a hybrid version of the Freixes system (bet on the 2nd and 3rd horse to place and bet on the horse that had won the most races) and eventually started winning more than I was loosing.
All in all, this was a particularly good day. It was packed with useful information, engaging lectures, the chance to explore Hong Kong and get to know my classmates and of course there was a healthy dose of fun. I even learned about… ahem… statistical probabilities.