“Made in Italy.” But do we really want it?

March 6, 2007 at 12:01 am (Uncategorized)

I still remember the first time when Howard talked about China, he showed us a big photo of a high street in
Shanghai, where people crowded into shops and were crazy about shopping. He said this was his first impression of
China: shopping.  

 

Undoubtedly it is good news for businessmen all over the world. In particular, the increasing wealth of
China’s middle class has created growing demand for luxury goods. Recently, Salvatore Ferragamo, the Italian luxury goods group, has been preparing to explore the Chinese market further with his “Made in
Italy” campaign.

 

I think this strategy may be a little bit late It might have been successful two years ago. But now, both the economic and social environment have changed.

 

First of all, “Made in
China” does not always mean cheap prices and low quality anymore. Local brands and manufacturers are being more competitive with improved techniques and higher quality standards. Chinese consumers are gradually changing their attitude towards their own products. A great many local brands have won people’s loyalty.

 

Secondly, many luxury brands have moved some of their factories to
China. Perhaps the most recent one is Burberry. I believe that when people can fully accept the fact that Chinese manufacturers are capable of making luxury goods, they will not be interested in foreign products that much. “Made in
Italy” will not have a great appeal. And its higher production costs could weaken its competitive ability when meeting “Made in
China” in the market place. 

 

Last but not least, the stronger social consciousness has made lots of Chinese start to support local products and local industries. This is a red warning for foreign brands. Maybe they should reconsider conquering China with “Made in
Italy”.

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A HISTORICAL REMINDER

February 26, 2007 at 4:41 pm (Uncategorized)

According to a new law, people with blond hair are not allowed to go shopping in
Prague except from 3 pm to 5 pm everyday.
[1] Have the Nazis returned? No. Do not panic. This is just a campaign in order to remind people of the years of Nazi occupation of the Czech lands.  
 

It is really creative for
Prague to use such a humorous way to encourage its citizens to talk and think about their history. Especially for the younger generation, the history in a text book can be so abstract and boring unless they have a chance to experience it themselves. This could make them truly understand their country and become a patriot.
 

I hope
China can also use its own method to educate people. I always feel that while our country is concentrating too much on economic development, the whole nation’s consciousness of our own culture and history is not being raised at the same rate. It is hard for everyone to figure out what is the core value of Chinese culture, because they are too busy to think. 
 

Last year I was shocked when I saw so many British people wearing a red poppy in the street, ranging from grey-haired grannies to punk girls. On that day something united the country. I cannot help showing great respect to this nation. People who keep their history in mind deserve to be treated as noble.  

Money can help to win fame and power, but it is not enough to win heartfelt respect. It is time for us Chinese to look for our own way to build an awareness of the profound Chinese history and culture into the nation’s soul.________________________________________________________________References1 – News StatesmanFebruary 19  2006


 

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GENIUSES ARE BORN, NOT MADE.

February 20, 2007 at 10:39 am (Uncategorized)

“Genius are made, not born”, this encouraging saying has driven a great number of parents to explore their children’s potential by all educational means. But what I believe is right opposite; I think geniuses are born, not made. 

Bright Sparks, an article in last week’s The Economist[1], was written to compare two kinds of educational systems used to cultivate geniuses. One is selecting natural born geniuses. Another is making geniuses.  

And the author tended to think the latter was more scientific. One reason was that a lot of time and money on trying to pick winners could be saved. But I would argue that making geniuses might cost more, not only time and money, but also children’s happiness.  

“Genius” is defined as “a very great and rare natural ability or skill”[2] by the
Cambridge dictionary. Attention, “natural” is one of the key words here. Then making genius means doing something unnatural. Fighting with nature has been never easy. It requires people to make extraordinary effort to approach th
e goal.
 

Undeniably, there are lots of successful cases of enabling normal children to achieve greatness through compulsory education, like the author mentioned in the article.  

However, they are just a small proportion if comparing with the failure. In addition, most of these cases are based on the premise that parents are experts on some fields or able to invest enough money and time in extra teaching and send their children to best schools. Usually having parents as experts has more chances to create miracles.  

Meanwhile, for children who fail to be turned into geniuses after hard work, it would be a tragedy depriving their happiness and confidence.


References1 – The EconomistFebruary 10 2007

                   2 _ The  Cambridge Dictionary

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OUR WORLD POLICEMAN HAS LOST

February 12, 2007 at 9:02 pm (Uncategorized)

The United States has lured North Korea back to the six-party talks again. It seems the Bush Administration has not been woken up by North Korea’s first nuclear test in October, 2006. This makes me really confused.  

Most people know how to draw lessons from their experiences of failure, but apparently not the Bush team. An article in last week’s Time magazine[1] fully explained Washington’s weak-kneed policy towards Pyongyang’s second nuclear test preparation: “zero-penalty” plus “additional goodies”. 

The U.S. has provided economic aid to North Korea since Pyongyang agreed to provisional freezing of the nuclear program. Even so, the aid alone does not satisfy Pyongyang’s ambitions. The only offer he is waiting for is the release of $24 million of North Korean funds in Macau’s Banco Delta Asia. Right now the money is frozen due to the suspicion that North Korea was counterfeiting U.S. currency.  

Obviously the first successful nuclear test has made North Korea believe it is in a stronger position now. The article predicted that once Pyongyang gets money back, he will be free to carry on with the nuclear project. The so-called six-party talks are just a cover for his real purpose.  

These on-going talks in Beijing have proved that it is hard to make big progress unless North Korea reduces its excessive expectations for energy aid.  

Does North Korea really have any intention of signing an agreement? No. But the U.S., who started the talks, will be reluctant to accept this answer. It seems that our world policeman has lost his way while trying to put the world back into order.


References1 – TimeFebruary 5  2006

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The second story: Act before the smoking ban

December 11, 2006 at 5:38 pm (Story 2)

An old pub inCardiff finds it easy to embrace fresh air.

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While pubs in England are still in a panic about the upcoming smoking ban in July, 2007, the Old Arcade, one of the oldest pubs in Cardiff, has undertaken a transformation before the deadline. 

After six weeks’ refurbishment, it was reborn as a smoke-free venue in November. Meanwhile, a courtyard area with four heaters has been created for smokers. “This is a smart, contemporary solution for customers,” said Andrew Lynch-Wilson, the Old Arcade’s manager.

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 But changing to a smokeless pub was not an easy decision initially. According to research stated in The Publican Food Report 2006, 53 percent of the pubs in Wales expect to see a decline in trade once the smoking ban is imposed in April, 2007. For the Old Arcade, a traditional Welsh pub, the situation might be even worse. A lot of regular customers are used to lighting a cigarette over a glass of beer. Most of them will possibly feel strange with the unfamiliarly fresh atmosphere under the ban, and then go to elsewhere.       

“How can I sit in a pub without a cigarette?” one of the regulars said to Ann, a waitress in the pub, when she carried out the survey preparing for the refurbishment. 

However, the news from other non-smoking pubs is encouraging, such as the Conway. Early in January this year, the Conway banned smoking throughout the pub. Although the business was affected in the first few weeks, it got better quickly. More clients like to stay there longer which led to an increase in food sales. 

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“People have realized the importance of health. And nobody wants to go home smelling of smoke, even a smoker,” Ann said, “It is good for all of us. Now I really enjoy working in the Old Arcade.”   

  Many pubs are understanding the changing trends in people’s lifestyles. The earlier to meet the new demand, the better the business will be. More importantly, the pub could avoid suffering from sudden pressure when the smoking ban comes into force.                      

Even so, the Old Arcade still fully considers smokers’ demand. Pubs usually use two popular solutions to enable them to adapt to the new policy more easily. One is diversifying the food menu, another is investing in sheltered out-door spaces. What the Old Arcade did is to remove half the roof of the back room to create smokers’ courtyard, while using heaters to keep the place warm in winter.  

Most customers said they loved this idea, but also, some didn’t feel that comfortable. “It’s good they’ve done something, but it will be cold when the rain starts or if there is a blizzard,” said a smoker.   

 Fortunately, apart from this, it seems the pub hasn’t met any difficulties in going smoke free, according to the manager. “It is just so surprising. We’ve got a lot of positive feedback and the sales have been better.” he said.  

From mid-December, the pub will join a stop-smoking campaign by using beer mats to help people know more smoking facts. It is expected that more smokers will embrace fresh air with the pub this Christmas. (512 Words)

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Hold your heads up, yobs

November 16, 2006 at 1:04 am (Story 1)

When the youth are seriously labeled “antisocial” by adults, they think of themselves as just naughty kids.  

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Some people are intimidated by yobs in Cardiff, especially when walking through two particular streets at night, one is St Mary Street sometimes known as an “animal farm”, another is Clifton Street was at one time described as a “living hell” by residents nearby.  With loud music, St Mary Street is always thronged with glittering party animals after dark on Saturday. They are getting drunk, screaming, vomiting at pavements and laughing at the fear in the faces of passerby. Policemen and paramedics are the busiest people in the high street during big festivals like Christmas. Clifton Street has been more chaotic until recently, but is now being reborn, as the Tredegar House pub, the source of problems, was closed in March due to a stabbing and drug dealing.            

Despite the great improvement in tackling antisocial behaviour since 2004 in the city, this issue was still thought to be the top priority for the police from a survey carried out by South Wales Police Authority in October. “I don’t like teenagers at all. I want to see more policemen in the street.” A man responding to the survey in Cardiff Bay confessed, “They even think it’s cool to have an ASBO.”    

Are yobs really that bad? One thing can be proved by their attitude towards ASBOs is that they are playing games with society. Hiding under hoodies and walking in the dark, they enjoy trying to be something special in the world and refuse to become truly a part of society. Back to St Mary Street, “Yobs here would do everything just for fun,” a barman from the pub Liquid said, “It seems they have never been told by others how to act well or even protect themselves. They break rules just like kids break toys. But except behaving rudely, most of them are harmless.”   

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Does that mean the youth are becoming creatures with the appearances of adults and the minds of children? According to its report, the number of children living with a single parent increased by 17% last year in Britain, meanwhile, they spend less quality time with family members. This means there is an “increasing disconnect” between children and adults so that young people have to learn how to behave from each other, said Nick Pearce, director of the IPPR.     

 Maybe adults should question their own attitudes first before admitting disappointment about next generation. Early this month, Conservative leader David Cameron called for a better understanding of yobs at the annual Youth Justice Convention in Cardiff International Arena. “We have to show a lot more love.” He said.  

But it is not easy to make parents change their children’s behaviour by love in the short term. Right now South Wales Police have to concentrate on special measures for dealing with probable antisocial problems for the upcoming party season. It may include extending road closures along St Mary Street, setting up “field hospitals” and adding a police station in the city centre. “Hopefully young guys can hold their heads up, not go too far this Christmas.” said Mr Moger, an officer from [i]A.M.E.C team. (516 words)          

       

 



[i] AMEC = lcohol Misuse Enforcement Campaign.

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Topic

November 7, 2006 at 11:16 pm (Uncategorized)

What:

warning of young people’s antisocial behaviour at Christmas in Cardiff.

Why:

Cardiff has been one of the antisocial behaviour action areas since 2004;

Cameron just addressed Youth Justice Convention in Cardiff in Nov 3 to tackle this problem;

Christmas would be a peak time of antisocial behaviour according to past few years.

How:

Do interviews with cardiff citizens who complained on BBC website and local Antisocial Behaviour Co-ordinator. 

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Task

October 30, 2006 at 11:34 am (Uncategorized)

Front of the book
1, Is computer game causing young’s healthy problem?
More and more British young people joined to vote for The Golden Joystick Awards this year, being known as the Oscars of the gaming world. Is the hot computer industry one of the reasons causing youngsters’ back problem?
2,The threat of global climate change
Features
1, Cosmetic surgery boom
The cosmetic surgery industry in American is booming. Americans now spend an alarming $15bn a year on cosmetic surgery. More and more young women are addicting to it. How is Wales? How is the acceptance of it of men and women here.
2, Welsh language is getting in trouble

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Thoughts about stories (1)

October 28, 2006 at 10:03 pm (News Adaptation)

The Golden Joystick Awards 

Being known as the Oscars of the gaming world, The Golden Joystick Awards has revealed its winners on October 27 in London. This year The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is the biggest winner by scooping “Ultimate Game of the Year Award“.

From this news two sorts of local stories can be generated. 

One refers to the e-generation. Teenagers are big fans of computer game, and there is a increasing number of them voting for the awards this year. Moreover, the win of fantasy game indicates a gaming trend in the youth. Thus it is interesting to get views form Wales teenagers about how the computer game styles change in their memories, and what kind of games they fancy, perhaps which can lead to a story how the development of technology shapes young’s gaming interest. Going for dark side, we can question if the computer game is one of the reasons causing the youth’s healthy problems. According to BBC news, a high rate of UK students suffers from a back pain.

Another can focus on computer game industry in Wales. Do interviews in game shops to find out if their sales have been increasing for these years, and if the awards boosts the sales of winners. 

Report’s stark warning on climate

Climate change will affect global economy in the future especially poorer areas according to Sir Nicholas Stern. This is a top business story recently. A story based on Wales can start with climate change because obviously winter has been delayed this year. Local clothes shops are being influenced as the sales of winter coats are not optimistic in short term. Then we can expand on this point by giving the warning of how climate change can impact on local business in long term. Meanwhile, get views form people about green taxes. (The impact on gas guzzling activities)

 The high price of American beauty

The cosmetic surgery industry in American is booming. Americans now spend an alarming $15bn a year on cosmetic surgery. More and more young women are addicting to it. How is Wales? How is the acceptance of it of men and women here?             

 

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