the cultural work of tests

grafitti-3 Originally uploaded by maryannodonnell the gaokao is over and shenzhen feels more relaxed. it’s as if the entire city has sighed and thoughts turned to summer. of course, the zhongkao still hovers darkly, but for the rest of us, life is good. this gaokao season, i’ve been thinking about the cultural significance of tests…

revolutionary shenzhen

the revolution haunts shenzhen. revolutionary promises, kept and disregarded, successes and defeats erupt in conversation in part because we are still only sixty years from the revolution and in part because so many revolutionaries came to shenzhen a mere thirty years ago. the present only feels worlds away from mao. in fact, traces of socialist…

what’s the point of college?

last night, went to cameron indoor stadium to watch the lady blue devils defeat the nc state wolfpack. well, we watched the first half and then returned home. mascot basketball at halftime was a bit much, even for my father who was thrilled to be there because (rumor has it) cameron is a shrine of sorts. certainly, yang…

futures – yuanling 2

jijian kindergarten Originally uploaded by maryannodonnell even as yuanling’s factories are upgraded to retail storefronts, the old neighborhoods – especially the old courtyard residential areas – are being razed to make way for highrise developments. watching the chickens feed in the courtyard of new yuanling village remind us (1) that shenzhen was imagined and built…

Choices PK 机会

This year, I began working as a college counselor, advising bright and talented students on the value of a liberal arts education and the concept of fit, as well as more mundane matters such as crafting essays that answer the question and making sure that an application is filled out correctly. My students willingly do…

three more text messages

Recent text messages on gaokao blues, the meaning of life, and lived common sense. 高考失意?前途渺茫?[出国通]帮你上加南大名校(免英语),更有机会拿绿卡!6月20日下午两点半招生面试,电话:XXXXX Gaokao got you down? Future prospects uncertain? [Go abroad connections] will help you get into a famous Canadian University (no English necessary), and have a better chance for a green card! Student interviews on July 20 at 2:30, tel: XXXXX…

great dividers

Yesterday, a colleague handed me a photocopy of a recent South China Morning Post Post Magazine article “Pass Masters” by Simon Parry. Unfortunately, the photocopy didn’t have the publication date and I haven’t been able to find an online link to the article. I apologize for responding without proper citation. If anyone does have the…