Preparing for China

I’m going to China for a week in October. I have a few things I feel I better figure out while I’m there, including:

  1. Exactly how evil is the internet censorship and filtering for ordinary tourists such as me. A laptop and some network tools should be enough to tell, as the hotel boasts free internet access…
  2. Time zone stuff. China has a single time zone for the entire country, which by itself is fascinating for such a huge area. And when looking at a time zoneChinese Sign for monkey map, you can see that the country picked a time zone that is the equivalent of western Australia, which seems to be a lot of sense for the east coast of China. So, the western parts of China are terribly off. The question is: do the people ignore the time and follow the light, or do they obey the time and spend parts of the lives in more darkness than what they otherwise would? If you go north/south at the eastern and western edges of China, you’ll end up in time zones that are five hours apart!
  3. Chinese typing is with glyphs; some tens of thousands of different ones. In a Chinese dictionary, like a Chinese to English one, how do they sort the Chinese words? I mean, glyphs just have got to be very hard to sort in a logical manner?! Or how do they find the words?

4 thoughts on “Preparing for China”

  1. 1. First, they are suspicious about any attempt to use internet. I couldn’t find free internet in the hotel, the standard price was 3 yuan per minute, not so pleasant. When asked about internet cafes, they act like i’m attempting to do something wrong there. In fact, i used internet only in Lhasa, Tibet, but it’s not really China. Had no time to explore many sites, but for example is not allowed, that will give you a clue what kind of sites are prohibited.

  2. 2. it’s not really a problem, you’re not really suffering from the time of your country differs several hours from the time in China, so they are not suffering from the sunrise at, say, 13.00. And it depends on what places are you planning to visit. For me, time in Beijing, Shanghai and Lhasa was appropriate.

  3. 3. There are not so many common glyphs because of their omonimity, 1.5-2 thousands is enough for most cases. Most glyphs consist of common parts (graphemes), which consist of strokes and thus can be sorted as well. As for dictionaries, they sort glyphs either by number of strokes or by pingyuin – writing chinese words using latin alphabet. They enter glyphs to computer or, say, sms messages using pingyuin, it’s rather convenient.

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