Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

Ideas for Project

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

I got my first project idea when I came across a Chinese made documentary called “Kindergarten” that documents the everyday lives of kids age 2 to 7 attending a boarding kindergarten in China. I was floored by the fact that parents were sending their two year olds to boarding school, and I started researching the idea and found that kindergarten has become an increasingly competitive thing in China as parents try to give (what is often their only) child the best possible chance at success. A lot of the schools, both boarding and day, have long waiting lists and are very expensive. My project would look into the way early childhood education is dealt with in China. Prof. Fernsebner suggested another documentary called “Please Vote for Me” about elementary education, so I’ll definitely be looking into that one as well. There are lots of interesting articles coming out about the growing focus on early childhood education and the pressures it puts on parents as well as students. It would also be interesting to compare how the the Chinese are approaching kindergarten in relation to the way those in other countries do.

My second idea stemmed from the article about pet ownership I read in China Digital News the other day. As pet ownership is rising in China so are tensions between pet owners, largely wealthier city dwellers, and non pet owners, mainly poorer and rural Chinese, over the merits of owning vs. eating dogs and cats. Treating animals as pets is so ingrained in American culture at this point that it is intriguing to see China just now grappling with what it means to bring animals into homes, some even treating them as substitute human companions.

Exploring Internet Resources on China

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

While reading through a lot of the resources about China, I stumbled upon a New York Times article listed under the Culture section of the China Digital Times. The article, “Once Banned, Dogs Reflect China’s Rise,” discusses the relatively new phenomenon of dog ownership in China. Among the wealthy, certain expensive breeds of dogs are becoming status symbols, but for many Chinese, especially in cities, dogs are becoming beloved family pets with entire pet care industries centered on catering to their needs.

The article drew my attention at first because I never knew that the Chinese government once banned pet ownership. But today the rules are softening, as in a country where many couples have only one child and many children have no siblings, dogs are playing extraordinary roles as social companions. Dog swimming pools and the opening of elaborate doggy hotels reveal China’s growing affection for dogs as pets. In light of this rise in pet owner consumerism, the article goes on to raise an interesting point about the way in which a society allocates its resources. One Chinese dog skeptic expressed the concern that, “The birth of humans needs to be planned, but anyone can raise a dog?”

And, yes, far fewer people are eating dog in China these days as well, a fact the article attributes not only to the growing numbers of pet owners, but also to the fact that “other developed countries have animal protection laws.”