Posted by & filed under mosomelt, 手记-blog.

From 01 Dec to 08 Dec 2017, the “Colorful China” group of Chinese models and performers will come to New Zealand to showcase the beautiful ethnic fashions and costumes to the kiwis. This group is organized and supported by China Ethnic Museum and the The State Ethnic Affairs Commission of China, and is regarded as an outstanding brand to present the variety and the best of Chinese ethnic fashions from China’s 56 ethnicities.

The Show and performances are visually appealing with live music, photograph exhibitions, dances and T shape runway fashion showcase. Yanni Shi, the president of Starlight Arts and Culture (one of the organizers), notes that this is the first time that this “brand” is introduced in Auckland. It is in their best hope that events as such could contribute to the ever developing multicultural environment of New Zealand.

Yanni also comments that costumes are the direct visual recognition of a nation and represent its culture in both physical and spiritual senses, which should be given the top priority when organizing events as such. In New Zealand, the Chinese as an ethnic minority takes around 4% of the total population. The local communities are inclined to embrace the ethnic minorities in China, which share the similar situations with them. Also the involvement of our charity partner St John is a good example of collaboration for a better community, since culture promotion is and should be all about learning, sharing and most importantly helping each other.

 

Representative from St John Dr. Andrew Zhu introduces the organization. St John was started in 1888 by Queen Victoria and is now supervised by Queen Elizabeth II and operated by her sons. St John New Zealand is a charitable organization providing healthcare services to the New Zealand public. The organization provides ambulance services throughout New Zealand, and also plays an increasing role in meeting the broader health needs of New Zealand communities through a number of health services and products. He notes that St John NZ would like to work with the local Chinese community more closely through events like this, and in so doing to increase their awareness of charitable activities in New Zealand.

 

The Vice Secretary of the organising committee Lily Tang talks about the organisation of the event, especially on the production tech and ticket sales. The production is done with very high-tech smart lighting systems, making the costumes shine on a stage like in a kaleidoscope. All the tickets were sold out in three days. The event is also supported by 26 local Chinese associations and 12 commercial sponsors.

 

Peter Kang, Export manager of the title sponsor Together honey expresses their joy to be able to title sponsor this event to promote the cultural exchanges between China and New Zealand. He wishes a great success of the event, and hopes that local kiwis could gain a good insight of Chinese culture, which could lead to business opportunities for both countries.

 

Not only will the Chinese ethnic performing group be on the stage, the local Maori performing group Nga Rangatria Mo Apopo (Leaders for tomorrow) from the Far North is also invited to perform. Additionally, the trophies for the lucky draw are also very attractive, there are mobile phones from Spark, beautiful pearl products from Pearl World, great bird nest nutritional drinks from Shoyo Swiftlet and ambulance models from St John NZ. It will be a unforgettable night for the audience.

Posted by & filed under mosomelt.

Recently, I have been working with a tool from Microsoft Garage which allows you to quickly develop OfficeJS projects in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. It is called Script Lab. You can find more information about it here:

Script Lab

It is also in GitHub project. You can read about it here:

https://github.com/OfficeDev/script-lab

To install Script Lab, open Word, Excel or PowerPoint and on the Insert tab, click Store.

insert

Type “script lab in” the search box and hit enter. Then select Script Lab from the list and click Add.

store

Once added, you will see a new Script Lab tab. From there, you click the Code button to open the task pane.

scriptlab

This tool comes with a lot of options:

  • If you click the hamburger menu you will see an option to Sign Into GitHub. This will allow you to create Gist’s and access and save code snippets to GitHub.

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Posted by & filed under mosomelt, 手记-blog.

Professor Anne-Marie Brady must be very nostalgic when she compared the current era of NZ and China relationship to that in Cold War times on today’s NZ Herald front page, because she has successfully created an “enemy” out of the government of China and “victims” out of the New Zealanders who are of Chinese ethnicity, and she claimed that the current NZ government is not as capable or ready to fight against China as when against the Soviet Union, and guard the basic human rights of such “victims” within New Zealand.

(Chinese government) has dominated local Chinese-language media and institutions, threatening local citizens’ rights to freedom of speech, association and religion” – Brady (from NZ Herald)

Earlier, Brady published a report detailing China’s “United Front” approach to gain influence, which though detailed, but full of assumptions and unexplained definitions.

But if they (Chinese from Asian countries) wish to be part of a Chinese-speaking environment in New Zealand, then they now have to put up with China’s guiding of political activities within the ethnic Chinese community and tightened censorship on political issues in New Zealand.” – Brady (Her report)

I respect prof. Brady’s academic professionalism, but that doesn’t make what she said true.

International politics for me is like a survival game. Of course if everyone in China owns a car, the petrol world petrol price would have gone up, which will impact the petrol prices in all countries around the world. But can we stop the Chinese buying cars? Well, you can try, but most certainly no. And just because of this, the countries around the world should start to learn to make friends and work together. I know you are probably thinking that I am too naiive to say this, but can you show me another way?

From mid-1800, when the first opium was imported from the West to China, the old civilization was sunk into the real victim of wars that claimed numerous lives and tore countless families around the world. After 1979, when Deng started to revive China’s economy, the country has never even slowed down developing itself, both in the economy and in politics. After the 19th CCP Congress meeting, Xi and the leadership team started to attract more attention, because China is different now. It is relevant, it is right there on your face, it is huge, big and strong, and it is growing, so are you its friend?

People like Brady is trying, mostly in vain, to remind the governments to take precautions, to start worrying about China, to prepare for a WAR like in the old days aya! But, what can you, Brady, or the New Zealand government do about China, or its influences? By starting wars with China? Creating enemies? Calling NZ Chinese victims waiting to be salvaged? or maybe make friends with China, because at the end of the day, influence can only be stopped by something that is anti-democracy.

I can see the claim that Brady and her kind are making, but it shows their lack of understanding of the nation and the pain it has come through. China is not seeking revenge, the ancient Chinese wisdom is still learnt and practised in China. China is seeking friendship, to grow together, and to help solve its own problems. Brady talks about the “United Front (UF)” quite a lot, but the foundation of UF is to unite groups that are different, but could be flexible enough to share the same goal, even if temporarily. China is reaching out to make friends, people to people, government to government, and it believes it is the way to keep peace.

While Brady saw this as China trying to dictate New Zealand starting with the Chinese migrants, and then what? Tell them what to think, what to do and what to feel? Drill them and Diet them, treat them like cattle and use them as cannon fodder?(Caplin’s quote) No! New Zealand Chinese are not your kings’ missionaries, and our human rights are protected like every other kiwi who came from UK, America, Australia, India, Samoa, Fiji, and so on. It is such a despise to claim that if the NZ government is not doing something about this, the 200,000 New Zealand Chinese are deprived of basic human rights! I don’t need your extra protection or exclusion just because I can understand Chinese or I am of Chinese ethnicity. Is this not racism?

In my eyes, New Zealand is valuable to China, because of its friendship made by people like Rewi Alley (120th birthday this year 2017). I have witnessed many generous Chinese people who donated much to charities rather than politicians. I have seen many Chinese working very hard and saving for years to buy their first humble homes. I have talked with a lot of Chinese international students who came here with their dreams to make a difference.

I know it takes time to get accustomed to a world with a stronger China, but better a peace-loving nation that enjoys our friendship, than a finger-pointing war starter under the cover of democracy.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under mosomelt.

I was looking for a song lyric that had been bugging me when I came across an old 1975 video of The Temptations and I ended up watching it (am easily distracted). It didn’t have the lyric I was looking for but it did help me to reflect on an operational issue I am currently facing- an experience of ‘technology (only partly) enabled learning’

I seem to always want to change things. I think a part of this is always wanting to push myself to keep learning. Change keeps learning alive. Perhaps we only learn through change? It also means I find myself on shakey ground or is it shaky ground  – even the word is unstable.

Tempted by change and drawn toward the affordances of technology I tend to jump in and give new technologies a go. Act now- reflect later.

This semester I have been teaching 150 students in a health ethics module. I’ve been playing around with audio assessments as I realise that so much of their assessments across their degrees are in written form, yet as future health professionals so much of their communication will be oral. I started last semester with asking students to use their phones (or some other device) to record an audio response to one of the assessment questions and to provide an accessible link so it could be graded. I thought this would be an easy task! However this caused all sort of issues and many students, despite videos I made with suggestions for Apps that would help with this, were unable to easily manage this process.

This semester I decided to try a different approach and use one of the audio tools embedded within our institution’s LMS, Blackboard. I figured that maybe the Blackboard team would at least be able to support any glitches along the way, which is very helpful when I am the only staff member appointed to this paper.

So, I’ve been using Voice Thread. Students are provided with a link and (simply!) record their response, save and submit. You guessed it- not so simple in practice!

Despite a short Youtube clip plus screen shot instructions from the Blackboard team some students still had problems making and saving a recording. The Voice Thread tool allows students to save a recording without submitting. the submit button seems to not be in an intuitive position. It is difficult for the grader to know whether work has or has not been submitted. Load times are slow so getting started with accessing audio files for grading takes a while with 150 students. Next semester I have close to an additional 100 students so this becomes a real issue. Furthermore, Voice Thread currently sends a notification to students when feedback has been given. Ideally it would be great to have the ability to time release feedback to ensure all students get feedback at the same time.

On the plus side,  Voice Thread allows for audio feedback and it’s been a lot of fun listening to my students and then providing an audio recorded message for them. It is a nice connection to complete an online paper.

Reflecting on my dabbles with audio assessments makes me realise that my relationship with technology is very trusting – I am tempted and leap in. Invariably there are issues. In many cases technology creates small pockets of time when I am seriously frustrated and within that small window I have a distorted sense of my precious time being used up at an enormous rate of knots. But there is something that continues to draw me to try new things, to continue to be tempted, to dabble, to sometimes fail and to continue learning along the way.

The shaky ground is familiar territory- continually creating an environment where personal and learning boundaries can be stretched. As The Temptations say in the clip:

“Standing on shakey ground (standing, standing)…And I love standing on shakey ground”