Blog Post

The Blue-Ray: A Popstar who rocked the Poll in his yard

After G20

Chenggang Rui would have been crowned as the anchor of BuzzChina, instead of BizChina (CCTVs prime time financial news program) in these days. The flaming buzzes aroused in the tube since last week were indebted to Mr. Chenggangs exotic show in Seoul. 

In the last press conference on G-20, Mr. Obama offered a courtesy F&Q opportunity to the Korean press. After some uncomfortable silence, CCTVs representative Rui stood up, saying ...I hate to disappoint you president Obama, I am actually Chinese. But I think I get to represent entire Asia, part of the family on this side of the world...

The reception is a heat one: see the Trendy Data gathered in Baidu statistics

The sentiments laid out by numerous netizens on the web are in general mixed, as a vote result shows public support the headlines of reports and popular blogs that cover this issue are more like teasing. For one thing, most people, including some senior media critics, columnists of several local news papers and major portal websites such as sina and sohu, do not like this Mr. Ruis ego-centric showing off, especially on an international gala like G-20. Why people go gaga because of Ruis unexpected question? Rui would have to admit that the question he posed to Mr. Obama was not simple as he said so. Interpretation, a style of many mouths, could only exaggerate the original question. In terms of Mr. Ruis question/concern of Mr. Obamas media literacy on othersinterpretations, the question and answer, i.e. the literal part, actually ran away from Ruis quasi-heuristic hooking lines as well as the heated QE beta scheme that he aimed to poke as a financial news anchor.

In a Sichuan Onlines spicy commentary, Ruis stealing thunder from our Korean neighbour was framed as a face-losing domestic incident   which was unfortunately broadcasted and broaddiscussed to the foreigners. A Chinese proverb preaches that one should always keep the stinky skeleton well in his closet. Similar saying can be found in Japanese maxims as well, , meaning the nail that sticks out gets hammered down. The silence of Korean media also indicates such taboo.

Lets rewind the video clip and see what happened when Mr. Obama thought Mr. Rui a Korean reporter but the later baffled him as a Chinese guy with stunning English and a tricky question. There was a swift shot in the background showing that people in the back seats (Asian folks too) were actually laughing at that point. 

Self-evidently, by claiming his demographic representativeness of being a Chinese and an Asian, he crossed the line of selling something ugly across the board and beyond. His projection would have been less irritating if he had not waved the Asia flag to cover Korean press and Chinese media. Online populists Han Han, Wu Ang, and Wang Xiaofeng poked fun of Rui in their blog posts. There was, however, something deeper in their sarcastic interpretations of Ruis representation which is not covered in the Trendy Data map collected by Baidu statistics. 

Han associates three represents, the grounding ideology issued by former GS Mr. Jiang. The word game Han plotted seems provoking in the first sight, but I doubt Mr. Rui could have been so considerate upon such over-interpretation. For Mr. Rui, he did play Tai Chi a little bit when he defended his foot-in-the-door drama, although it turned out that Mr. Obama understood that question very well. 

The behavioral/rhetorical logic in his tentative questioning, as he later explained in his blog, was not an irrational one from either pragmatic or diplomatic perspective:

Why he stood up: 1. Mr. Obama was about to catch his Air Force One; 2. Mr. Obama only appointed native English speakers before that very last question; 3. None of his Korean pals around raised their hands, and the long silence lasted for half a minute or so; 4. To save this chance and Mr. Obamas face, he stood up;

How he played it: 1. China is part of Asian family, and so is Korea; 2. No one takes Mr. Presidents second offer thus someone should end this awkward frozen play; 3. Mr. Rui promoted the authorization from Korean pals. 4. Mr. Rui urges that he is Asian (hidden premises: G-20 was the first time hosted in an Asian country, R. Korea. Asia hosted this show. Therefore, China could be counted as a co-host for this summit); 5. A senior media professional, Rui certainly knows how media interprets leadership in crisis. 6. Mr. Obama had to pick up the QE2 issue (with least econ terms to make the last resort look good), so was his personal aide, who handed Mr. President a plane alert note. 7. Some Korean folk finally had something to say about a trade treaty. But no luck, Mr. President got to fly his plane.


The taken home message: Mr. Obama actually understood his Chinese fellows touch on Feds recall of 600 billion bonds, although he do not have the time to shape it in an ideal or at least adorable model for his hosts. Were it not the final question, he might had a harder time to rescale his previous promotion to other loaners and buyers of America, including his Korean pals. Mr. Ruis question can be credited as a witty and an intriguing one, if we read it with mind not solely the eyes: Could a race of slower recession in the already globalized world disturb no one and benefit everyone or at least the major ones? 

In China, we have neither a financial crisis nor an economic crisis, he says. China is going through a serious slowdown. The world is going through a synchronized recession. As a journalist we shouldnt exaggerate. This what Rui said in an interview with NYT in 2009, which may imply a crisis from inside. This experiment in Seoul assorts the discrete fears as a response to his interpretation: his fellow Chinese people are also individualists, they want to be heard (but may not in English). They want to know where they are in the world, and they do not like self-ablleged foreseers and representatives who shadow their visions and distort their comfort zones.

Like the rise and fall of Quantitative Easing in biz cycle, Bank of England interprets and implements a rather different QE policy, compared with one adopted by European Central Bank; How Bank of Japan practiced QE. 1 did not fit into the authors original qualification. Interestingly, Dr. Richard Werner, the inventor of the baffling term, happens to be Mr. Ruis Global Leader for Tomorrow fellow laureate. The Tao of Mr. Greenspan was one of the most mysterious object to investment bankers. His put did win some. The bursts behind him might be natural in its own right, so are the buzzes in this case. His successor brought a similar technical question into the play. A rational and curious person would of course check the difference and monitor the testimonies. Without an informed sane audience, Mr. Ruis bidding inevitably looks uncanny and rude.

The Chinese language is itself poetically vague compared with English and more open to interpretation.  ("The China Syndrome", New York Times Magazine, May 21, 2006)

The rebounces in the web curves, although varies from network to network, also indicate a China Syndrome (beta) within China which is essentially not the foreign syndrome that was transplanted in China, but a self-reflective and self-absorbed chronicle. It explains why netizens could blow up a man hunt based on right or wrong pictures of people that may never relate to them. 

For the negative interpreters, people found Mr. Ruis media halo, bureaucratic/autocratic gesture, and even his aggressively fluent English are unbearable and rather unrepresentative for general Chinese, although they might only nail their eyes on the traffic figures and netizen comments of their blogs as a way to speculate where the general Chinese inhabit and how they read and write. Its sad to see the uniqueness of an individual is extracted by chilling another individual who claims up to the ladder and reach out to the unknown.  Of course, this is also a hasty generalization of Chinese mindset. But, at least in his/her fashionable communal self, one can capture the echo of Mr. Rui's bold request to the world valley. Because, the critic also relies on the same semantic web that knitted by layers and textures of strangers sentiments to navigate his/her senses of the self, the others, and whatever in-between.

As long as the web transcends such blue ray, however heated it could be, the web is credited to preserve the standings of every possible shades in their primary lenses, forms and hues. All in all, only silence kills.


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