Posted Sat Mar 2, 2013, 3:08pm Subject: Re: My COFFEE
I like a challenge... I've been to China, have a Chinese wife, have participated on Chinese and international forums, and am always committing mistakes in my language and understanding. Oh yeah, I'm experienced at this kind of thing.
Peter, I have difficulty believing in your sincerety and open-mindedness. It required a lot of patient reading on my part to even accept the possibility that this was all due to communication/translation issues. One has to give you the benefit of the doubt, meaning it is far easier to believe that you are deliberately avoiding humbleness and honesty on some points in the conversation, even if you have knowledge - even if you are correct in the argument. So I will try to convey my reaction to your writing, and I will endeavor to focus solely on the question you asked: "Is anyone who can help me to find out and to explain what in the following are rude or insulting". Note, however, that my reaction is based on your overall interaction in this thread, including some of the more obvious indiscretions you wrote, which you neglected to include in your quote. Also, your statements below are clearly devoid of context, so I assume you did not intend the reader to just give you a reaction based on the statements and nothing else -- one must read the original discussion in which those statements occurred to get close to their true meaning. Unlike mathematics, English does not stand on its own without real world contextual knowledge. In fact, no language does, as you must be aware. Thus, taking your statements out of context provides me with my first reaction: please don't play unnecessary games with the historical record of conversation if you want to be taken seriously.
My responses below are prefaced by "bb:"...
How many coffee shops in China have I visited, and tasted?
Probably you cannot imagine, I am in the centre of the Chinese coffee industy, and know all so-called important people in the coffee industry in China. If anything interesting, I would be informed, also by many of my students. Anything special? I surely can know.
bb: Mildly insulting to American ears. If any Westerner claimed to establish their reputation by stating they knew all important people in the field, they would be laughed-at. It may be common procedure to establish one's credentials this way, particularly in Asia, but for my sensibilities, it smacks of false pretenses. It says to me: this person is trying to get me to believe they are someone important, with no other credential to establish his reputation than "I know anyone who's important in my corner of the world". Almost nobody can get away with this kind of assertion and not be thought of as being shallow and diverting from the essential proof of wisdom that comes through lengthy dialogue and gradual acceptance by their peers. And you are surrounded by your peers on this forum, so it would be a big mistake to imply your associations with unnamed persons in China is going to lend any credibility to your next sentence.
About Zhang, he was trained by the people who were trained by a young guy whom I know five years ago. This is what I know and also, for sure, how they train them.
What kind of help he want, and what kind of help you offer to him? Where are they?
If you are a Chinese, I can understand what you said, and you know what I have to say to you.
bb: Nothing rude or insulting. You responded very well to the main focus of conversation in this thread: is Zhang qualified to merit the dialogue he is engaged in on this thread? Oh wait. I'm sorry, Peter. I am, in fact, being very sarcastic. I do not mean that that was the main focus of this thread. In fact, it was a highly irrelevant topic that seemed combative on your part. You need to understand this. The topic started out with Zhang posting some pictures and asking for others to offer advice. This is like me posting some pictures of a Filet Mignon, and asking for advice. I would be deserving of a few comments from the members here along the topic of: "how can we tell you anything about your picture? It's just a picture!" I would also be deserving of some members interpreting my introduction as a harmless way to open the conversation. Maybe a clumsy way to do so, but hey, did I mention Zhang is Chinese? You probably figured out that Zhang might not have a lot of skill with English, just like you, Peter. So maybe we are not bothered and in fact welcome this clumsy attempt to ask us for advice, based on a picture. Zhang seems like a friendly person. We westerners like friendly people who take risks by trying to cross cultural boundaries and allow us to learn from each other. You know what we don't like? Statements like yours that have nothing to do with the topic but which seem deliberately intended to cause loss of face for some friendly person. You understand loss of face. I know you do. You understand it big time. You know exactly what you were doing here. And there was no reason for you to insert such an attempt to discredit Zhang. Not in this context.
In my understanding, I do not want to say or put anyone down, but just tell our understanding. In any case, our understanding is our understanding. Nobody is forced to accept it, neither hurted. But many people seemed to be.
bb: Peter, I would be happy to go on, if this is useful to you. But for now, you must realize that you were being hypocritical. You made a very obvious attempt to cause loss of face for Zhang. You did it when Zhang was only offering us a chance to engage in dialogue. Getting back to that Filet Mignon example, it's as if I showed a few pictures of steak, and you suddenly interjected that you knew me and I was of inferior lineage and you knew how to cook better. There is no reason to compete with me under such circumstances, because it is contrary to the notion of freedom of discourse and learning. It is limiting to the conversation and disruptive to the OP's purpose in starting the thread, hence inappropriate for the thread itself. But worse, when you say you never intended to put anyone down, I have to accuse you of lying. You are a liar, when you imply you never intended to cause harm. And if you still believe that you were not interfering with Zhang's quest to learn more, then it's clear that you are not capable of perceiving right from wrong in this matter.
Peter, if you were a track and field instructor and some mother exclaimed "My son took his first steps today!," I would half expect you to interrupt the mother and advise everyone within earshot that your stride and stamina were superior. That would be quite childish, don't you think?
By the way, thanks to misuse of pronouns, I only found out today that Zhang is female. I hope that had nothing to do with this whole interaction on your part.
Addendum March 4
I encourage anyone still following this to click on Zhang's icon and see all of her earlier threads, where the slow development of this pattern between Zhang and Peter develops. There's too much history to this interaction, and I feel ridiculous having tried to analyze Peter's statements from a single thread, when Peter himself takes liberties in thread-hopping while continuing the same conversation across every thread. Too many assumptions.
Peter, you have caused much trouble, some of it by accident, some by sheer ignorance of how forums work, and most by not asking for help in clarifying your meaning. I now do not know how much to blame on your lack of English understanding or your inexperience with how the internet world works. It has caused a lot of confusion.
pstam Senior Member Joined: 27 Jan 2004 Posts: 2,348 Location: Beijing Expertise: Professional
Espresso: ECM, SAN MARCO, EURO 2000 Grinder: MAZZER Vac Pot: YES Drip: YES Roaster: YES, HOME STYLE
Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013, 3:37am Subject: Re: My COFFEE
Thanks a lot, first. I have to let you know that I had no other reason to recall this old story and just to know better what I said and what I did here. That is why I would be very glad to hear what you said so clearly and detailed explanation. Due to the difficulties of expressing my feeling and precise meaning for the language problems, I wouldn't explain anything. What I do for this thread is only reading and trying to understand.
Peter in Beijing ------------------- http://www.kaffa.cn/ ------------------- I am looking for the way and the place to extend our trainning courses.
Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013, 9:28am Subject: Re: My COFFEE
I appreciate your commitment to better communicate and understand. I want to see you continue participating in this forum. I also want to see you continue discussing your Italian espresso learning. If you want, you should start your own thread on that very topic, so that it does not appear that you are hijacking another person's thread. I really want you to do this, so that the conversation is subject to your goals and motivations, and we will all happily join in and inquire about your path of accomplishment. You can call the thread simply "My Path".
Please find an effective Chinese/English friend who can work with you to edit your posts and help you understand what us crazy Westerners are saying. Also, you need to feel free to ask more questions when you are unsure about our meaning.
Thank you for allowing me to express how I reacted to your writing in this thread. Thank you for receiving my criticism so graciously.
Chang94598 Senior Member Joined: 24 Oct 2007 Posts: 213 Location: SF Bay Area
Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013, 1:24pm Subject: Re: My COFFEE
As someone who reads Asian and Western coffee forums, I can inform the readers of this forum that pstam's Chinese postings are quite inflammatory and condescending, so there is probably some language barrier, as he is actually more polite in this English forum. Generally, the Asian coffee forums are rather subdued and humble; however recently, even pstam has been experiencing much criticism on the other side of the Pacific.
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