28 May 2007

Turning Chinese in SL #2: Help = Sugar Rush

I admit right now that December was a bit of an awkward month SL-wise. I should have been relaxing, getting a RL job, regrouping.
Instead, I was hanging out in Second Life a lot. Days where I would be in at the stroke of midnight to the stroke of midnight (the next day obviously) came around two or three times a week. These were wasted on exploring the sandboxes, the casinos (I spent a small sum on last-minute Slingo raids, but only what I could afford.), the furry fandom and gorean cities, the institutions and Svarga. Friendlist growth (and a couple of pares, I'm not ashamed to admit)
I spent enough time that I started getting comfy with my wildcat self and it showed when I got back to college from SL. I used to be fearful of interaction, often preferring the company of others considerably older and wiser than me. Having the feeling I could reach out and maul hard (even if only in spirit) gave me excuses to speak more to my classmates in non-professional matters.
Some wise dolt once said the next stage of progression from ceasing to fear others is to start making others fear you. I strongly disagree with this negative view of any world. The next thing is to offer help. I started to learn more and haunt other places. Help Island and Orientation Islands Public. Shovelling through the knowledge base regularly for help.
I put in an application.
Initially it was just to cover the bases - there had been horror stories where willng participants formalising their assistance towards others became a matter of waiting for months on end.
I got a lot of work done in the end though, throughout those days. It eventually became a matter of point where someone up there felt I should start running with the people in Live Help (later retermed Help Request, subsequently retired from public (ab)use).

At this point, I have something really personal to say. Shortly after I first badged up, in the midst of the congrats and the regular buzz-ins, someone tried to make me feel very unwelcome and unwanted. You took one look at my tag and my age while I was working hard, and dismissed me as a advanced hire into Second Life's concentrations and networks of power.

You managed to sledge the people who decided for me, the people who said I should apply for the job, and even a handful of people who were publicly my friends. The way you did it was perfectly legal, but it hurt. It hurt very badly.

I've kept one eye on you since then, and your behaviour has gotten no better since then. In fact, it seems to have gotten worse.

You should be ashamed of your self. You know very very well who you are. You spend thousands of dollars on land every month, partly to poison the ears of newcomers every passing day. You pass on values that, long-term, only lead to more suffering.

You're feted, but only amongst the very sort of people you claim to eschew.
In short, you are the sort of trash whom nobody would mourn for long if you slipped up one day and got hauled for it.

Don't let me be the one to help you over the edge.

The months seem to have gone by very fast. I eased up on the throttle to avoid burnout, but I still got into the world with a passion.

Several hundred thousand other people would seem to concur with me. Just look at the 60-day login figure that comes up here...

All sorts of nationalities in that mix. Agni was once primarily a place filled with people from the western hemisphere (if that actually exists), people whose main choice of language was English, or japanese, or some European language I can't parse for gobbledygook.

Amazing what a difference a year makes. It say something when Max Case actually gets rejected from Yahoo Pipes and Google translation services suddenly after months of working on his Babbler translation software...

And some of these guys were Chinese. Setting aside the fact that Anshe Chung started from a very very low position (in more ways than one) in Second Life, China should be proud that it has a daughter who has reached out and grabbed her fortune in the "damned-if-I-don't" manner that only Chinese hunger can manifest. Publicity about her would have become an obvious thing.

And some of that would spark minds. While most of China labors under what can only be charitably described as dial-up on chewed copper wire mesh, there are some parts that have access to broadband. and computers with good 3d accelerators.

Get them into the hands of the curious and the interested, and you have visitors. Get visitors into Agni, and you have people who can't leave. Sure there's churn, but any online service has churn.

My first call in Chinese came through one quiet April evening. Prior to that, I had only noted my ability to handle Chinese as a matter of fact, and not even a given - half the incoming Chinese diaspora was educated in countries and ages where people didn't consider putting over ten strokes into a single character a waste of time or money.
It was a pretty interesting call. it was mundane, the usual call people put in asking for ways to make money in SL. But it was in Chinese.
Help Request may be dead, but I haven't stopped getting those calls. Two chinese phrases come to mind that keep popping up half the time:

兄妹,朋友。(sisters. Friends)

It's an odd Chinese habit. you tend to leave China for anywhere. Paris, Egypt, California, Nanyang, Hongkong... anywhere but your home.
You don't even have to be a Hainanese (客家人,'guest people' - something like Chinese for wanderer). You just have to be Chinese, and in a position where things could improve for yourself and your family (which basically covers everyone living and breathing with Chinese roots)
You get out there, often become native - you learn the local rules and rites, the local language, the local demands and the ways you can contribute to society. You might forget your native language in whole or in part. But one thing remains:


When partaking of water, one considers the source. One forgets, but one doesn't forget totally. I remember being Chinese and of late, I've been finding more excuses to read it when time permits.

I've been rifling through my Besta. It is not a power workstation - hell, it doesn't even cope well with most things a Windows CE can do. But it IS a window into learning Chinese. (Bonus - if I get bored ever, I can learn Korean and Japanese later on with it as well xD) I spend an hour on it every day, and leave it to recharge once a week, and learn something random every day.

I really don't think I'll get out from any of this funk ever. Not that I'd want to.

On that note, I think I'm done. I apologise for making you guys sleepy and yawning, but I simply had to let go of my neuroses for a while. The funny and stupid will resume shortly.

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