Friday, May 25, 2012

meeting bo xilai

All the news about the downfall of (corrupt?) Chinese reformer Bo Xilai has reminded me of when I gave him a tour as an undergraduate tour guide 13 years ago. Even then he was an up and coming reformist mayor of Dalian, and I felt really bad when I was the only representative of MIT to greet his entourage of dozens of people when he came to visit. I felt even worse giving my standard tour in bad Chinese (I gave them the option of the english version or the bad chinese version). The only upside was that I was able to answer his question about MIT's operating budget, (around $2 billion if I recall, which impressed him.. it took a to translate billion into chinese having to recount the zeroes but I think I got it right).
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