Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I am enjoying my visit to CCC in Taiwan

I left home on Nov. 3, and arrived in Taipei on Nov. 4th at 6 am. After 14 hours of flight and 2 more hours of high speed rail ride, I arrived at National Chung Cheng University at noon, very tired. There was a reception dinner at a very fancy Japanese restaurant in the evening, food was beautifully arranged and equally delicious. You have to see their guest house. They give me a VIP room, there are two bedrooms, living room, dining room, and a bath. I wish my family is here to enjoy Taiwan with me.

I was told that there are 15 full time faculty members in the Communication Department. Most of them came out to see two scholars from the west, one is from Simon Fraser University in Canada, and one is from SFSU (you know who she is). I asked each faculty member what he/she teaches. I learned the department is composed of a very interesting mix of experts and here they are: Media Policies, Media Economics, Media psychology, Message design, Health Media, Media ethics, etc. Interesting and very rich.

Here is my first impression about Taiwan.
1. Mountains and hills are so beautiful and so green. I love it!
2. Gentle and respectful people.
3. Great food and presentation is a work of art.
4. Hot Spring
5. A fire which is burning right out of pool of water. It is an awesome sight.

But most of all, I was strucked by the way the Communication department colleagues are treating each other. With gentleness and with respect. I am not accustom to this kind of academic culture in America, at least where I work. As I think about this, I just realize that how Americans are treating each other very harshly. I am not even sure how I could describe this harshness, I can't even find a right word to describe what I see in my colleagues and even in me that we brush off people. On the surface, we may smile with cursory greetings, but there is harshness there or no concern for others. Is this harshness comes from hardness of heart? Is our stress seeping from our everyday actions? We are so disconnected and distrustful. I am sure my Taiwanese colleagues too have academic politics and they too sometimes don't get along. But they still keep coolness and kindness and treat each other with dignity. Something that I can't explain with words, but I recognize that sense of empathy is well cultivated and developed in them, thus they are calm, cool, and yet confident.

What is it that people from the West are so quick to judge others. Is this L-brain driven society makes us to behave this way? Perhaps.

This quiet gentleness and kindness that are demonstrated by these bright professors left a great impression on me. I must note that I didn't see this wonderful quality in Korean colleagues when I visited Korea, I wonder Koreans are more like Americans in this aspect of our life. We are quick to judge others, me included.

I need to find out this unique characteristics in Chinese people. Some may say that Chines don't show their emotion quickly, they keep their emotion in their sleeves, whereas Koreans show their temper quickly. Whatever it is, I am curious to know what makes these people different. I noticed that many young, beautiful, accomplished, second generation Korean-American Women marry Chinese-American men. I asked to my young Korean friend. She said, "Chinese men respect their wives. They do house chores where Korean men don't".

The person from Canada presented something about Media politics. I made my presentation on teaching for future with technology. After the presentation, the department chair, Dr Lo and Peter, took us to a hot spring. I saw a most amazing thing; fire is burning from the water, the water looks like oil that gives fuel to burn. Here is the awesome sight I saw.

After a mud spa, I am relaxed and happy. Also food makes me happy too. I ate this big hot pot beef soup all by myself.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

I will be leaving for Taiwan today. I am still working on my PowerPoint -- I don't know I will use it or not. I don't like PowerPoint, but I will have them just in case. I am planning to show up for my ITEC 830 class on Thursday via online. I hope I will have an Internet connection at 9 a.m in Taipei time, which it is 7 p.m, my class time in California. Peter Hsu who graduated from ITEC department in 2001, then went on for his doctorate in Instructional Technology at University of Idaho invited me to Taiwan. He is now a professor at National Cheng Chi University. It will be fun to see him again, and also speak about the topics that I am passionate about: Technology and Learning. I will speak at two different universities and also two different topics. Here is my itinerary which Peter sent to me:

11/3 (Monday) 00:15 from SFO

11/4 (Tuesday) 06:05 arrive TPE, I will go to the airport, and we will go to our school first and check in. Later in the evening, we will have a reception for you and the other scholar from Canada, Dr. Hackett.

11/5 (Wednesday) You and Dr. Hackett will give speech in the morning at CCU. His topic will be about mobilizing for media reform in Canada: Opportunities, challenges and lessons; after lunch, we will go together to one of the famous hot spring vista point near our school.

11/6 (Thursday) It will be your second speech at CCU; after that, we will go Taipei. (Taipei 101 and the forbidden city)

11/7 (Friday) Your speech will be held at NCCU in Taipei, the College of Communication; then, after a short rest, we will go to the east part of Taiwan, the back garden. We will stay in one of the best hotel there.

11/8 (Saturday) We will go one of the most famous travel spot in Taiwan, Tarroko; and go back To Taipei at 2:30pm. We will arrive Taipei after 4:30pm. Your flight back to SFO will be 23:15 pm.

Would you please reconfirm the topics you are going to give speech to?

at CCU
1. Teaching for Future with Instructional Technology
2. The Impact of Emerging Technology in Education

3. The Impact of Emerging Technology in Education (chosen by their Dean)

We are looking forward to seeing you and with you have a good time with us in Taiwan :-)