Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mid Autumn Festival 

This morning, I went to the McDonald's restaurant nearby for breakfast. Egg sandwich and coffee for 6 RMB. That's not a bad deal. And this place is near the Hills, so it is a bit remote from the city, which means that it is usually not crowded. It's a really good place to study--except for one thing. They only have one song. I'm serious. One song. Over and over again. Every day, all day long.

It's not the first time I have had this happen in China. From time to time, I have to talk to the manager at a coffee bar and ask them to change the music. Some managers pick a song for the day in the morning and just run it on an infinite loop all day. I don't know how people can stand it. I look around me and never see anyone else complaining. I guess Chinese people are just more used to being programmed or something, I don't know. It drives me nuts. To me, it's a form of torture. But usually, when I bring it to the manager's attention, they will do something about it. But at this McDonald's, they just apologize and tell me that's the only song they have. Every day. all day long. Over, and over, and over again.

A couple of my former graduate students came out today. This is the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday. The actual day was yesterday, I think. It is August 15th on the Chinese Calendar. A beautiful full moon.

My students both went to Japan as interns while they were doing their graduate work at the Software College, so they both have good jobs. I find this pattern to be very consistent. If I have students who tend toward research in the field of Computer Science, I encourage them to go to America, because the Americans have lots of research funds from which to create graduate assistanceships for Chinese students. But for students who show a talent for software engineering, I always encourage them to go to Tokyo. The ones who go to Tokyo always get good jobs when they come back to China (if they come back to China--some, like Piano, have elected to stay in Japan), because they are in demand by Japanese companies.

When I encourage sofware engineering students to go to Japan, the most common response is, "We don't like Japanese," or some such thing. Those who manage to rise above this always come out ahead. Unfortunately, the recent economic downturn has sharply reduced the number available internships. This does not prevent students from soliciting their own work in Japan, but they aren't having it handed to them quite as easily as before.

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