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November 14, 2010

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Selected Thoughts of Professor Lu Gusun

TO Fudan graduates 2010

I hope you can all be spiritual giants and material grassroots. If one gets into college only thinking about BMWs, how pathetic will life be? He/She might as well ride on a bicycle, thinking about wormholes and time warps.

Students should go to college for mind yoga, not BMWs. I myself actually not so opposed to BMWs. But I sincerely hope that every one of you could always smile, whether you're sitting in a BMW or riding on a bicycle.

The media

Blog, August 24: Mammon wreaks all kinds of havoc. The classical definition of news as five W's plus one H ... has been scaled down to two and a half W's, because "what" often contains misinformation, disinformation, non-information or half-truths. "Why" is more often than not a black hole. As to "who," names are often withdrawn and in their stead we read of "departments concerned," "multitudes of people uninformed or hoodwinked" and "undesirable elements with ulterior motives." Euphemisms abound.


Blog, July 10: As a teacher, I am specially sensitive to plagiarism. Except those who have sticky fingers, most teachers hate plagiarism ... Those who take a lead in academics should tackle plagiarism without any hesitation. It is not only for sake of one's own reputation, but also to make a good role model for their students and future scholars.


Blog, October 14: It seems the students date and party in fancy places (or do they fancy they do and are they only trying to appear cool?) while I have to date never set foot inside a KTV room. As interns, they eye a future IT job in an office cubicle. Nobody expresses an interest in a teaching lectern especially now that they have seen me soaked in sweat while shouting at the top of my lungs.

Dangling participles

Blog, October 14: Often I have to write long passages of comments to hammer home pieces of advice even though it is unpleasant or demoralizing. How can I let go unmarked, grossly absurd dangling participial phrases like "My heart was so delighted when walking into those graceful places"? Wherever you go, whatever language you speak, your mind doesn't walk, does it?

Student papers

Blog, October 14: Pauperdom in intellectuality is a bit disturbing in the 30-ish papers throughout ... The young writers, for the most of them, would rather log on to Douban or Renren for sanitized info or small talk with their buddies ... More accurately, visiting the virtual space and being irresistibly sucked into the black hole of it is quickly becoming their second nature. Likewise, as a group, they are shying farther and farther away from reality as they do from intellectuality. Assuredly the humanities are on the wane.

Girl tennis players

Blog, January 29: I've seen many a girl student on Fudan campus speeding by with a swoosh on a bike with a tennis racket hung aslant across their shoulders. But I'm afraid the racket is more of a feel-good factor than anything else, showing off to others that they are engaged in an elitist or even aristocratic sport. How I wish I could see one or two of them really falling in love with the sport and training in rigorous earnest so that we see more Chinese daughters on a tennis court.

Potty problems

Blog, October 16: The toilet in my house doesn't work ... Its flush+suction function must have cracked up, calling for a replacement. I searched for a new toilet and found domestic ones for only 300-400 yuan ... The ad says, those who care about toilet culture can go for American Standard or Toto ... Oh my Gosh! Those toilets cost 3,000-4,000 yuan, 7,000 yuan tops. ... A toilet is actually as expensive as a residential building of 3 to 4 square meters. Wouldn't it be too luxurious? Wouldn't one have a guilty conscience sitting on it? Do droppings really become huanglongtang (ancient medicine).

World Expo

Blog, September 16: To many, the Shanghai experience involves widespread assistance besought through rigorous regimentation, the long list of "thou-shalt-nots," the unending serpentine long queues of visitors, rain or shine, the mass hysteria to have their Expo passports stamped, king- or queen-sized traffic jams on the expressway ... Expo-ology ought to include why and how the sponsors, knowing the maximum volume of visitors they can handle if all facilities are geared up to the utmost, should encourage an influx, over-capacity by a gargantuan margin from day to day.

China's soft power

Chinese soft power still has much to improve. When I looked through the books in stores in the US, I could only find four or five Chinese contemporary works, far less than assumed ... We should introduce expats to Chinese culture and literature in a way that interests them. It should be like a knife through butter, but we are acting like cutting a turkey with a bread knife. You can imagine the results.


Blog, January 30: Did you guys watch men's basketball match between Shanghai and Hangzhou last night? Notice the umpire and two referees' unashamed partiality toward the host team? Despite its 17-point edge, Shanghai lost ... I read an article asserting that Shanghai mentality lags behind Guangzhou's about 100 years ... article harangues Shanghai for the massive building spree prior to the Expo ... I confess I have no hard evidence to prove how mentally superior Guangzhou is, but when I put last night's basketball match and the article in perspective, I really suspect something is afoot, something I choose to call Shanghai-bashing. So long as regionalist pride and prejudice get fanned up by the laboriously humorous comparison between sipping coffee and eating garlic, so long as we demand non-Shanghai locals "curl themselves into a ball and roll out of the city in an unabrasive way," such bashing is sure to continue and step up in intensity.

Home sweet home

Most old professors have moved into better-equipped and more expensive apartments. But I don't want to be a mortgage slave. I love this place, with trees, birds and the melody of the piano every morning played by a kid upstairs.

About himself

I am a pedantic scholar and indulge in phrase-mongering. Some people call me an old fogy or young diehard.

On his father

Life bestowed me with much reputation and vanity, which I honestly don't value so much. To my biggest pride, I am my father's son. I always bear in my mind his ardent expectations of me and his earnest teachings. My gratitude for him is beyond any words. - Memorial to his father.


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