This is a very meaningful book about a Chinese girl experiencing two different life in two different worlds : China and America. The book author Ping Fu grew in a middle class family at Shanghai in 1960s, experienced Cultural Revolution in her teen period, was exiled to America after her university life in China. Later, she worked as a waitress in America, studied computer science, opened her company, become an successful entrepreneur, recently became the member of National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in President Obama Government. The story in U.S. is another successful story of American dream. However, when looking at her life in China, it seems to be a nightmare.
In Cultural Revolution, she was forced to leave her mother in Shanghai and returned to her Nanjing biological mother who never looked after her for six years since her born. In Nanjing, she was marked as a black element and experienced cruel treatment. She was even raped by gang. Without the parental care, she need to look after her younger sister independently at the age of six. When she was studying literature in University at China, her graduation thesis triggered off a world-wide shaming of China and its leadership.
When she was exiled to America, she only knew three English words : Hello, Thanks you and Help, and even didn’t know fraction in Maths when she studied master degree of computer science in America. However, she become a CEO of a pioneering software company nowadays. It seems to be amazing for her from nobody in China to somebody in America.
Her life journey brings me many thinking about life and different kind of social systems. Why can a Chinese girl be fostered and grow brightly in America but become nobody if she lived in China? What’s wrong of the Chinese society? It seems to be a fact that many people can not develop their talents in Chinese environment but they can be nurtured and develop to be what they want if the environment shifts to be in America. Many American dreams proved that life is what you make it but it is very different in China. It seems to be a big cultural topic for us to think.
Life is like a mountain rank, sometimes at the valley, sometimes at the peak. You never say when is good or bad to you. If she didn’t get trouble and was forced to leave China, she wouldn’t come to America. And the later life of her must be rewritten.
What I am learning now in my spare time is a programming language “Processing” which is a image, animation and interaction computer programming. About one year ago, I begun to learn Processing. At that time, I intended to learn Arduino because I found a very interesting Arduino project in the web.
The project stimulated my interest to learn interactive design. Later, I bought a Arduino micro-controller board and related books from America. Processing is one of the related programming language book I bought.
Learning Processing helps me explore the spectrum not only in controlling Arduino but also in interactive computer graphic design. When I firstly got the taste of Processing, I love it very much because it is a very easy-learning computer programming for designer to pick up. The interactive graphic is very interesting which drives me to learn. And I want to use Processing in architectural design where I can find some of the examples which some foreign designers developed. The potential of Processing in architectural design is very huge as same as what RhinoScript does in Rhino environment.
Algorithmic Architecture is a very interesting area for me to explore. In Hong Kong, I found that very few people in field of architectural design know algorithmic design. It may be a difficult topic to learn because the learner should have a basic programming knowledge. Otherwise, it is very difficult to catch up. I believe that more and more designers will use code to design. That will be a trend in the field of design. You can see Zaha Hadid Architect where most of the designers know coding. I think more and more design firms will follow when the generation of digital native picks up the design post in the near future. “Form follows program” will be a norm in architecture.
Processing is a good step stone for designer to learn coding. Now, Processing is a beta version but the performance of it is very encouraging. I see the future of Processing is bright. Also, the future of Processing in Architecture have many possibilities!
Saturday, 14 August 2010
I was happy that I could find and buy a software of “Robot Structural Analysis Professional 2010” yesterday. However, the language code became traditional chinese and could not show normally after I installed it in my computer. Finally, I could not use it. It was quite disappointing! I wonder if it is the problem of the version of window. I installed a traditional chinese version of window in my home computer. The software may detects the traditional chinese version and switches it language into traditional chinese automatically.
What appears in my mind is that I can install a english version of window so the software can switch back to english version. At that time, I can use it to do some FEA analysis.
When I found this software, I was quite happy because I can foresee that I can design the building from the concept to the structural analysis. That means I can design my work from AutoCAD, Revit Architecture, Revit Structure and finally Robot. The design process can be done by one entity which combines Architecture and Engineering that is my dream work. I hope I can design building or bridge from the beginning of concept to the end of engineering analysis. It will be very interesting and efficient design process. I don’t know whether Santiago Calatrava uses Robot or not. What I would like to do is the same of what Santiago Calatrava is doing. He combines the knowledge of architecture and engineering, and designs his works with the knowledge of both fields. His design works is very touching and build-able which is not the fact that most architects and designers can do.
I tried to import my 3D AutoCAD bridge model into Revit Architecture and Revit Structure yesterday night, the outcome was quite encouraging. The whole model can be imported to the Revit successfully. I don’t know whether I can import the same model into Robot. If Robot accepts it and the analysis can be run. It will be so great! So, I can use one digital model to do different tasks such as rendering, documentation and structural analysis.Small is Big and New. Traditionally, the whole design process was very complicated and required a lot of people involved. Today, thanks for the computer technology, many difficult tasks can be done in computer. The whole construction industry will be changed soon!
Thursday, 10 December 2009
Just a few moment ago, I reviewed some HKCEE Economics text books. I found that I am quite interested in Economics. I had nearly finished all volumes of F5 level Economics books since last year. However, I just got a glimpse of these 4 volumes Economics books and did not put more effort into studying them because I don’t need to prepare it for the examination in the coming future. All stems from curiosity and interest. Also, I seemed to buy many Economics books in my bookshelf. All of them are Chinese version. Some of them are very famous in the realm of Economics such as “Free to Choose” written by Milton Friedman, some books about the thoughts of Friedrich Hayek and some about Basic Economics …… etc. With the view of my taste of what I chose in the scope of Economics, I tends to read the thoughts of some liberalism economists. It may be the step stone to enter the territory of Economics, I may be capable of reading the first-hand version of Economics books in the future so the basics knowledge of it should be reinforced now. That is the reason why I chose to read these in Chinese version because I don’t need to bother the translation problem and hope to read these in pleasure. Only with having the basic knowledge of Economics can I further to study it in the future.
Economics may be one of the boxes I open to me in my life-long learning process. When I attended a public lecture in CityU last year, the speaker (a former Hong Kong financial secretary) said that the life-span of our generation would last to 100 years. After the retirement at the age of 65, we still have 35 years to spend. So, life-long learning should be encouraged because we will have more time than the previous generations in a life. Apart from more time we will have, the rapidly changing environment also drives us to life-long learning. The knowledge I learn now would be obsolete after ten years in this fast-changing world, it also attributes to the life-long learning.
Nowadays, it is quite easy to pursue what you want to learn. With the help of internet, we can learn any subjects in the web. After finishing the F5-level Economics, I intend to learn Economics in Khanacademy.org that is a online academy and provides high school education for free to everyone in the world. After that, I may attend the Economics courses provided by Coursera or edX that many prestigious American Universities join to provide free and online degree courses to everyone. That may be the learning path for me to walk in the study of Economics. I believe that more and more subjects will be put on the web in the coming future and most importantly most of them are free. Recently, Hong Kong seems to follow this trend of open education, The Hong Kong Digital Academy was open a few days ago. Free Education to everyone seems to become reality. What’s more, we can forecast that future students will have their own curriculum rather than a pre-set subjects assigned to them, they will learn what interests them. Ultimately, different students will have different portfolio to get a job. There are no steaming mechanism after junior form in secondary school, that means that there will be no science class, art class and commerce class. Every students will learn the subjects according to their interest and strength. A student may study Economics, Physics, Chemistry and Chinese Literature. Everything will be student-oriented rather than teacher- or school-oriented. I hope this day will come soon in Hong Kong!