Microsoft answers forum, why being so de trop?

Occasionally my online searches lead me to, and the style of answers by the Microsoft agents or moderators are so wordy. They typically follow this format, as a result of their ‘training’, I guess:

Greet users: Hello, username,
Greet again: Welcome to Blah, Blah, Blah,
Ask for clarification: Can you provide more information on ….? | I understand your have questions about …
Provide an answer: Only at this point, they start answering the question, after wasting a lot of web page spaces and user’s time with redundancies
Closing the message: We look forward to your reply…

Why not provide users with the solutions and answers? This whole formalities and unnecessary complexities of answering questions Microsoft style is so palaverous. Just provide the answer in a straightforward way, for Windows 7’s sake!


A nice list of movies for those who are searching for the meaning of life

After I searched the Japanese movie Zen (2009), recommended a list of movies that includes Zen. I found quite a few good movies in this list which should be inspiring for an adult lost in life.
Here is the list


Strange Chinese accent in the Japanese movie Zen (2009)

The Japanese movie Zen (2009) directed by Banmei Takahashi tells a story about Dogen Zenji (道元禅师) who traveled to China to study Zen, especially under the mentorship of Rujing (如净禅师). I started started watching the movie and at about 4″10′ from the beginning, the supposedly Chinese monk in the movie speaks Chinese with a very strange accent — or rather, with heavy interference of Japanese pronunciation. It seems that the person acting as a Chinese monk is indeed a Japanese actor.
I just hopes that when they are Chinese roles in the movie, it is better to have native speakers perform it or let a native speak do the dubbing, otherwise, it sounds really weird and incomprehensible to the native Chinese speakers. This happened to quite a few English movies as well.


Optimistic Buddhist?

The common view is that Buddhism is inherently pessimistic as all human’s are subject to the cycle of birth, aging, illness and death. It also seems to me that after being dealt with heavy blows in their lives, people tend to be religious and some became a Buddhist who holds a pessimistic view toward life. I wonder if there is such thing as an optimistic Buddhist? The one that sees life wisely, with great intuitive capacity and gleefully live the life without too many entanglement of consumerism and inner troubles. I raise this question because I am often times pessimistic, yet I am aware that many teachings of Buddhism are true and full of wisdom. Maybe I am just oblivious to the bright side of Buddhist philosophy? Or to further this reflection, Buddhism is neither optimistic or pessimistic, but subjectively objective? In other words, it is neutral?


Subterfuge disguised in assertiveness or bluffing

Some people think subterfuge disguised in assertiveness or bluffing is a key to good business, when in fact research demonstrates that ultimately such an attitude undermines success. The reason is very simple, because when their mind is filled with tricks and ruses, there is no space for them to experience a more fulfilling and rewarding life. By telling only a half-truth or using convoluted treatise to disguise their true intentions, these people hope to take advantage of other people while forgetting the consequences of their action may override or negate the benefits they hope to get.

These people often act as mirrors that let us see ourselves more clearly and may show us blind spots in our character. Anyone who relies on subterfuge travels a road to personal disappointment when the truth wins out in my view.

So how do people who single-mindedly want to profiteer reflect our blind spots? I mean that sometimes we don’t see ourselves and our tendencies. Others can help us see these as interact and react to them. Rather than reckoning other people’s bad behavior as punishment or bad karma for something we may or may not have done, these people’s bad behavior may allow us to see ourselves in a different way than we have previously.

Encounters with such people are good opportunities for us to learn and grow. Also, maybe, these people will encounter other people that make them learn life lessons sooner or later.

Life Misc

Why is it so difficult contact RFI Chinese and send them a feedback?

I enjoyed listening to the Chinese language program les grands penseurs Français (法国思想长廊) by 赵越胜。The program is a great introduction to French thinkers because it is concise, clear and well-structured. However, when I want to listen to all the previous episodes from the very first one, I found that the only way to do it is visiting their website and click on dozens of program pages to download the mp3 files one by one. This is time consuming, error-prone and frustrating.

Why not use a podcast app instead? Because I cannot find the complete list of all the podcasts of this program, and only the latest ones are available for download. I also checked the RFI Chinese website, and the feed subscription on it is not complete.

Is this due to the restrictions of the feed mechanism or just a stingily misconfigured setting of the number of feeds for subscription? I don’t know, but I want to get the complete podcast of this program and listen from the very beginning and it is not easy to do so. Also, RFI Chinese uploaded the wrong file for the episode called 卢梭与伏尔泰, because the mp3 file on the website feed is Asia_weekly_09-12-17_SEM49.mp3, which is not about les grands penseurs Français.

And I took my time to send a feedback through the contact form on RFI’s website. However, after I clicked ‘send’, I saw a circle spinning and spinning forever, and my message to RFI Chinese failed to go through.

Then I thought maybe I can send them a private message via twitter, however, I was prompted by twitter that @RFI_Cn was not following me so I couldn’t send them a message. No, I am giving RFI a international long distance call to send my feedback and suggestions.

As a last resort, I thought I should post my frustrations here on my blog, because if RFI Chinese cares about their listener’s feedback, they should fix their website contact form or simply leave an email address.

If RFI Chinese read this post, please kindly contact me at thinkweird (replace with@symbol)


The moon shines so big and bright tonight

The moon shines like a big yellowish plate, the biggest I have ever seen. It hung above the horizon and seemed to get a bit smaller when it rises high.


The pain of emptiness

On May 6th, 2013, I learned that I lost a thing forever. Due to my self-righteous anger, my forever alert of other people’s problems, and my own poisonous wishes — I wished for the bad things to happen and they did. I asked for it. Then I felt heart wrenched and  cried silently in the car. There is now an emptiness in my heart and a regret in my life that is impossible to be filled and remedied.

Be careful what you wish for.

There are certain levels of retribution in our life. The easiest one is not having the blessings in life that other people have and you are not even aware of it. You don’t even know there is such a wonderful blessing in the world.

Secondary to it is another type of retribution: you see such blessings but it is impossible for you to have. And you are left permanently yearning for the things that you could never reach. Sometimes you simply console yourself that maybe it is written, it is your fate.

The third level is taking away what you have taken for granted, sometimes forever, to deliver to you a wakening blow to realize that what a valuable object you have lost, and you will never able to retrieve it, ever. In many cases, the valuable thing is lavishly given to you is ruined by your own hand. After you realize what you have squandered, you are left with a feeling that a chip of your life is forever gone and it is you who chopped it down.

If you could still make up for what you have lost, then you are at the fourth level of pain. Fate just taught you a lesson and you can still get back what you want — if you truly want it.

Today, I know, I lost that thing forever. I can cheat myself by saying that it is fate that makes a joke an takes away what does not belong to me, but deep inside, I know I ruined it. Now there is an empty spot in my soul which is never going to be remedied.


Bebware of the blind overwhelming force

If you are an Indian caught in the westward expansion of the white people, beware of the overwhelming force;
If you are a Jew caught in the Nazi Germany, beware of the overwhelming force;
If you are a worker caught in the globalized capitalism, beware of the overwhelming force;
Do you surrender to the futility of struggle or you fight to death.
Or it does not even matter as the gust in the autumn will clear away the withered leaves anyway.
What is your choice if you are caught in the blind overwhelming force?


Two ways of consuming books

When reading a book, how to balance between speed and quality of reading? There are numerous books to read and there is certainly not enough time to read. Besides, life is too wonderful to be just spent in reading and consuming the mass produced words on pages.

As one historian eloquently puts, the increase of knowledge in history may risk the the actual understanding of the materials. The voluminous pages of names, dates and events, were forced upon readers, in a “buy and large” manner, typical of a society overbearing for more consumption.

As a result, wise reader need to choose wisely what to read and stop consuming whatever is conveniently accessible to him, either by deliberate information tracking or peer recommendation. There are always ways to do things differently and reading is one important factor. Books are products, and the majority of the products would be gone into oblivion within the next hundred years, into the trash of the historical dustbin, so to speak. Any reader without a discerning mind is feeding the braining with future trash.

Food for the brain should be planned and arranged as carefully as food for the stomach. Actively planning the personal diet results in a healthy body, so does selective reading. There are numerous marketing tricks which make us choose certain products, believing it is our personal choice. There are also numerous authors who write not to share information but to deliberately obfuscate the our understanding of the world — for seamy purposes such as pecuniary or political gains.

Allow me to go back to the topic about two ways of consuming books. One is reading and the other is studying. The later is the most time consuming but also should be very rewarding. Some portions of a book needs to be studied and cross-examined, and other portions to be read. I say this because I tend to consecrate books and afraid of fully committing to a book with the self-imposed obligation of finishing it from cover to cover. Bear in mind that today few books are written to enlighten; they are written to be consumed.