何毓琦的个人博客分享 http://blog.sciencenet.cn/u/何毓琦 哈佛(1961-2001) 清华(2001-date)

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Pay it forward (II) 精选

已有 9537 次阅读 2013-3-19 22:25 |个人分类:生活点滴|系统分类:海外观察

Fornew readers and those who request to be “好友 good friends” please read my 公告first.


More than three months ago, I posted the article “pay it forward”  http://blog.sciencenet.cn/home.php?mod=space&uid=1565&do=blog&id=640318 which attempts to sample opinionsand willingness to help others and payback to society by young Chinese scholars(please read the rationale of that article if you have not done so beforereading further). My post was based on more than 3000 comments I have received fromreaders of ScienceNet for the past five years on my articles. Overwhelming majority of the comments by young scholars  thanking me sincerely for the benefit they have derived from my blogs.  While I do not expect any “payback”from these readers, I suggested that readers can “pay it forward” by declaringeither publically or privately (to me) on what they intend to do to benefit future generations. This is both the proper thing to do (just like parents nurture their children in return for the love and care bestowed on them by their parents). I was also interested what new ideas the youth of China have.

In any case,here are the statistics so far after 3+ months

Readership of the article                          over 5000

Response to my appeal                            6 but only 2 suggestions

Basic ideain the responses                      To further propagate my blogs to others

Privateresponse to me                            none

My own unscientific samples                During two gatherings of Chinese Americans

here in the US of about 20 persons,  I asked people to guess the response to my blog article after explaining the background. I basically got two types of responses. CA’s who came from Mainland China told me  that there will be little responses to my appeal. CA’s who are from Taiwan and who have little experience with Chinese mainlandtold me that there should be many responses.

 

Of course I was amply warned beforehand by my cynical friends in China that my blog article is a fool’s attempt and I’ll be solelydisappointed. They may be right. I have not yet given up on the Chinese intellectual youth. But the question is “what is the explanation of my samplingresults? :

1.    The old Chineseculture of thousands of years does not encourage any open display of sentiment.

2.    The leftoverinfluence of the Cultural Revolution

3.    Current Chinesestudents are self-centered  and selfish.  The recent  article http://blog.sciencenet.cn/blog-825582-664308.html 捡了芝麻反而丢了西瓜and the comments thereinmay be another piece of evidence.

4.    The government discourages any form of  lists and organization not under its control no matterhow  innocent. Thus, people avoid joining any lists

 

I’ll let readers to decide for themselves without further comment.

Note added 3/24/2013. From one of the readers of my blog who wrote to me privately but agreed to make his remarks public provided s/he remains anonymous:

"To explain let me first make a metaphor. Suppose there is a society or community in which everyone is, or majority people are, dishonestor selfish, then if you behave honestly and selflessly, you will suffer. In a sense the current situation in China’s academia is a bit like this. At the lunch /dinner table or on Sciencenet, everyone may say loudly what's wrong, but afterwards, everyone does what s/he thinks s/he should do as usual to servehis/her best interests. Therefore, it is a problem of the research community, not individual. The system reaches a bad Nash equilibrium; it would need a major force to push it out the stable region to another good equilibrium point. This has to be done top-down by imposing the right policies. People know that the root is at the top. For example, the big academic corruptions orunfairness come from those who have power in academia. Young people might feel their action is useless and even looks silly if they do. They may feel they are the victims and should not be responsible."

 

 



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