My Roommate’s a Genius
As I’m settling in Wudaokou, Beijing, and getting to know my roommates, I have come to really enjoy them and, more importantly, admire one of my them, in particular, for his uncanny creativity and imagination. He’s a 20-something Indonesian-Chinese music composer, studying here in Beijing, aspiring to become a famous Pianist.
This post won’t be about his inimitable hospitality or care for people, but about his ingenious awareness.
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Roosevelt’s normative stance on making the best with what you have is a great way to describe his attitude. Since our residence is still under construction, it’s rather bare. However, I’m fond of its simplicity and minimalist atmosphere, since it allows for much flexibility and freedom.
Let me start off by saying that I love sitting on the floor, whether I’m working on my laptop, studying, or relaxin’ with friends. So, one day, my roommate walks in and notices my love for this sort of atmosphere and decides to improve it.
"Improve it? It’s the floor, and I’m sitting on it. What do you have in mind?" I ask.
How China brainwashed American POWs using a classic sales technique
Humans will do anything to keep a consistent self-image. Just ask the American POWs held by the Chinese during the Korean war.
On their return to the USA they underwent extensive psychiatric and medical evaluation. The Chinese camps treated them well — much better than the North Korean ones — so they came back healthy.
But compared to the POWs in North Korea, their beliefs had changed massively since they’d left home. Most of them now thought that America had not only been the aggressor, but used germ warfare. Many agreed that the Communists had “done a fine job in China.”
They also collaborated. “When an escape did occur,” wrote one of the investigators, “the Chinese usually recovered the man easily by offering a bag of rice to anyone offering to turn him in.” This was extremely rare in German and Japanese prison camps.
So what did the Chinese do differently?