I’ve always said the romance languages are way overrated, and the language to learn is actually Chinese. Well, looks like locals in Liberia are moving in the right direction–at least in my fobby opinion. The newest trend in this West African country seems to be Mandarin classes.
It only makes sense, though. China has a huge role in the economic development of this war-torn country, from rebuilding roads with funding from the World Bank, to running hotels and restaurants. And naturally, Liberians are realizing increasingly that Mandarin is a necessity.
“Traditionally, we Liberians are closer to the Americans than we are to the Chinese, but the irony is that the Chinese are more open to us than the Americans are,” 57-year-old John K. Cooper, who works for a local youth development center, and is one of 15 students in the Mandarin class that began this week, told AP.
“Americans know and have technologies, but they are not yet ready to bring them to Africa. The Chinese are doing just that,” he added.
In fact, the Chinese firm China Union recently became Liberia’s largest investor ever. China Union signed a $2.6 billion agreement earlier this year to go into the iron ore business in a town about 30 miles north of Monrovia. Africa’s trade with China reached more than $100 billion in 2008 and has multiplied by 10 since 2001, according to the African Economic Outlook.
I’m telling ya, everyone needs some Mandarin skillz…
Link (thanks Ed @ehoa)
You know those machines at the bank that can count a huge stack of bills in mere seconds? Well, check out China’s human version. Featured on CCTV, these incredible individuals are “both fast and accurate” in their ability to count money, newspapers, and stamp envelopes at superhuman speed. Crazy!
(Thanks to my pops for sending me this fobulous video!)
This week in Beijing, five men were jailed and fined after a violent fight over a license plate containing the lucky number “8888.” The incident happened last year when plate number “8888” was about to be issued. The men, following orders from their ringleader who wanted the plate, used knives and clubs to attack people who came near a machine issuing license plates at Beijing’s vehicle registration center. Several were injured, one even seriously hurt.
Any Chinese fob knows that the Chinese word for “eight” sounds like the word for “to make money.” Ironically, each perpetrator was punished with an order to pay $8k. Guess the number wasn’t so lucky after all.
Even robots are losing their jobs these days. In Japan, industrial production has slowed by 40 percent, forcing investments for robot innovation to take a backseat. Factory robots sit idly, waiting for the next order of products. And even though they are cool and creative, luxury robots like a $4000-robotic-feeding-arm have become an impractical luxury.
Still, what I wouldn’t give to get one of these guys to tackle the seriously overwhelming mountain of dishes in my kitchen sink:
For the full article, check out the NY Times article and slideshow.
Posted in Japan, Science and Technology
Tagged Asia, Culture, Economy, Finance, Investments, Japan, Robots, Science, Technology, Travel, Trends