Chinese elite universities’ American alumni association in NY

Ok, I know the title sucks.
The top 100 university in China – 2008 China University Review – by Wu Shulian 武书连 ranks Qinghua and Beida as #1 and #2 respectively. Many consider it’s China’s answer to MIT and Harvard. Getting into college in China is far more difficult than in the US, let alone an elite one.

Last year, three Shanghai universities’ alumni associations in NY – Fudan, Shanghai Medical and Jiaotong held a party celebrating Chinese New Year at Grand Hyatt. Cool. But they only offererd dance. No food, no drinks .. The Manhattan Room at Hyatt could accommodate 300 people but more than 400 showed up – many free loaders and wedding crashers. This year they decided to invite other alumni associations in New York to participate. The list expanded from 3 to 16, plus AFS. Good idea. Larger crowds levels bigger bargain.
After couple rounds of meetings and scouting the premises, they decided to hold the party at the Manhattan Room again, not the larger ballroom at Hyatt that could accommodate upto 800 due to higher rent.

The pre-party meeting the other night ran by an elder gentleman who’s previous year’s organizer. He beamed to say that many had expressed delight to attend a nice party in the city, so to hold on to the ‘tradition’ or ‘brand’, they have to hold it again in the city, still without food with cash bar – elsewhere would consider sub par.

Are Shanghaines so polar opposite from the Beijingers? I have reservations over the whole thing.

Grand Hyatt is one of the many commercial grade hotels in the city, nothing to write home about. And paying $50 to party where there isn’t food or h’orderves nor drink but few performances and a small dance floor. I seriously doubt it’s a party at all, and very below standard.

$50 could buy a cheap seat in Lincoln Center or a Broadway musical that featuring the world-class artists. Touring the mansions in Rhode Island doesn’t cost $50.

If it’s for networking, then whom are they targeting, the students or the working force? Few people at meeting told me that students expect something free, $50 is expensive for them without food or drink. That’s exactly what the organizer is offering: a place. No food, a cash bar and a small dancing floor, plus few performances. With few hundred jammed in the room, I think I could get a better view and value at the street performers in the Penn or Grand Central.

I image that the Manhattan Room will look like an over night shelter, over crowded, bags and coats all over the floor, if the organizer isn’t going to pay for the coat checking (which will cost them an additional $3 per person).

The idea of getting all the alumni from elite Chinese universities here in New York is quite alluring. But the way they do it is just far too bare knuckle, below what’s acceptable, so high school – (ok, I’m being modest here because my kids’ middle school parties did better: buffet with drinks, DJ and dance .. It cost little more and they had marvelous times .. ) more like refugee camp than a New Year celebration. IF the elite alumni from China have such low standard, what could we possibly expect from the rest of the country?

Years ago (like 1999 or so .. last century) I heard that Chinese students come to US, driving themselves to school in 7 series BMW. Ok, even Irene could tell that’s might have been grossly exaggerated. But seeing them having such party is very eye opening if not stunning to me. It gives Chinese a bad name. 驴粪球表面光 I prefer substance. I’m disappointed. It’s an Asian century, no doubt, but quite some miles to go before 赶英超美 is a reality.

Top 10 China Universities in 2008

1 Tsinghua University (清华大学): Beijing
2 Beijing University (北京大学): Beijing
3 Zhejiang University (浙江大学): Hangzhou, Zhejiang
4 Shanghai Jiaotong University (上海交通大学): Shanghai
5 Nanjing Univerity (南京大学): Nanjing, Jiangsu
6 Fudan University (复旦大学): Shanghai
7 University of Science and Technology of China (中国科学技术大学): Hefei, Anhui
8 Huazhong University of Science and Technology (华中科技大学):Wuhan, Hubei
9 Wuhan University (武汉大学):Wuhan, Hubei
10 Xi’an Jiaotong University (西安交通大学): Xi’an, Shanxi

15 Shandong University (山东大学):Jinan, Shandong
16 Nankai University (南开大学): Tianjin
17 Tianjin University (天津大学): Tianjin
22 Renmin University (中国人民大学): Beijing
26 Tongji University (同济大学): Shanghai

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