Sunday, August 21, 2011

Homecoming: Chinatown Bus Conflagaration

Some people don't like it when I punctuate comments about the future by saying "God willing."  However, as my recent homecoming trip shows, you never know when the bus you are traveling on might explode.

And the aftermath

Friday, April 01, 2011


I took my first steps into the warped, tunneled world of cheap plastic camera photography known as "lomography."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain,...: A generation later, echos of '89

Courtesy of Al Jazeera: Project for a New Arab Century
When Mohammed Bouazizi attempted suicide by fire in the center of the Western Tunisian city of Sidi Bouzid as a lonely protest against unemployment and corruption, he could not have known that he would ignite the whole Arab world.  Within a month the 23 years of corrupt and authoritarian Tunisian government of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali had fallen.  The government of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt fell only 18 days after the protests started.

Bouazizi died on January 5th, but his suicidal protest spread, with self immolation protests in Algeria, Iraq, Morrocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia , and Mauritania.  While strikes spread across post-Mubarak Egypt, protesters are negotiating with the military over the disappeared and the shape of Egypt's future after the military (hopefully) releases power into the hands of some popular body.  Tunisia and Egypt continue to struggle with political and economic instability.

This year will go down in history as a pivotal moment as important as 1989-1990 was a generation ago.   While the economic hard times have contrasted with the the wealth of corrupt and brutal authoritarian regimes, the youth of the Arab world have asserted a generational challenge to an entire regional paradigm of power.  This moment is as momentous as the fall of the Berlin wall, the Tian'anmen Square protest and following massacre, the Velvet revolutions in Prague and Ulaan Batar.

Meanwhile another wave of protests have exploded. In Bahrain foreign police under the monarchy's orders have repeatedly open fire on protesters with live rounds, killing many to dislodge them from strategic positions.  Gulf leaders have been meeting in Bahrain, leading many to speculate Saudi influence, and maybe even Saudi riot police are pushing this repression.  In Libya, dozens have been killed in violent uprisings that may have seen Gadaffi's repressive police lose control of parts of the country.  The initial crackdown was called a Tian'anmen response, though its clear the scale of the massacre in Benghazi, Tripoli and elsewhere have gone far beyond the violence 20 years ago, one night in Beijing.  Yemen is also a seen of ongoing battles between police and protesters.  Just as the Yemeni and Bahrain governments initially offered some concessions hoping to head off protests, so too is this wave affecting policy in Jordan.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Peking University Student Run Free Clinic

I've been working with medical student founders of the Peking University Student Run Free Clinic and helped them submit to the Lancet Student blog an announcement of their work so far.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

English in Changping: With the Children of Migrant Workers

A rambling commentary on environmental health and migrant workers' issues framed from an English class for the children of migrant workers.  The first citation, Chan's "The household registration system and migrant labor in China: notes on a debate" is particularly good, and worth a read for anyone interested in the topic.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Teaching myself SAS with a soundtrack

Proc freq Data=Work.Queens; Tables JamMasterJ;
Run; *DMC taught how to walk This Way;

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

First Public Speaking in Chinese

大家晚上好。我叫 Simon Fitzgerald。我的中文名字是费希孟。 免费的费。希望的希。孟子的孟。我是 State University of New York 大学医学专业的学生。在我的大学里,从 2008 年开始, 几个医学院的大学生建立了一个免费的医疗诊所,我是其中的一名志愿者。因为我的中文不太好,所以下面的话我将用英语来说。