Black, White, and Grey

Time is ticking

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In today’s post, I want to discuss two topics that I found interesting. If there’s right or wrong, and how’s good or bad? Don’t expect any moral of the story, or are there takeaways from reading this post—I can offer none of them.

What’s good or bad?

It could be objective.

I don’t intend to start a war, but I can confirm that using numerical form as a date format is a really bad idea. Using date formats with digits only will only lead to confusion. I’m afraid it’s not up for debate because it’s not an opinion, but an objective fact. That’s that.

Most of the time, using a numeric format for dates causes misunderstandings. For instance, if the date is presented as 23/03/22, it can be either YY/MM/DD, which is the standard of ISO 8601, or it could be American style, March 23, 2022. If the year is abbreviated, it will become very frustrating, even if we all know it’s the year 2023. It can be avoided by including four digits, as 2023/03/22. In reality, how many people are familiar with ISO 8601?

But what if we are referring to something in the past, like 12/11/10, so how are we going to read that? It could be in the year 2010 or 2012, 1910 or 1912, 1810 or 1812, and so on. Again, under no circumstances shall we skip the first two digits of the year when we write the year. If it’s just digits, always include the year’s number in full. In this example, let’s say it is the year 2010, 12/11/2010. However, even if we eliminate the year problem, there’s still one big mystery remaining for us to solve. The question is, is it 12 November, or December 11?

This actually annoyed me when the Nintendo Direct was aired last month. The date is written in numeric form as 2.8.2023 in their video’s titles on YouTube. I didn’t want to watch the whole thing so I picked some of their videos to watch. I was watching Sea of Stars and I honestly thought the game will be released in 2 August by reading the title. However, it’s the date of the Nintendo Direct! Of course, you may say I was stupid and that’s my problem. Ha. You know what? I think you’re probably right.

The main issue that bugs me is: why would someone assume everyone lives in the US? It seems to me that they simply ignore how their audience from around the globe might view their content. People who wrote the date using American standards are telling everyone to follow their rules. Maybe they just don’t care if people consume their content. To exaggerate a bit, it’s like Nintendo telling their viewers, “If you don’t speak American, don’t watch our content.” Apparently, they want to capitalize with their videos, but they are neglecting who their audiences might be at the same time. People will need an extra bit of context before reading the date to see the region—if it’s a video published by Nintendo of America. Yeah, I was (am) a moron for not reading it first.

No matter how you might interpret it, it doesn’t change the fact that using numerical format as a date is bad.

It’s absolutely reasonable to use the American standard with the name of the month: “Mar 18, 2023”, it presents the date in a much clearer way and is easy enough for everybody to understand. I don’t incline to use British standard; I just think writing the weekday before the name of the month, “Thu, Mar 16, 2023”, is kind of awkward. As a result, I ended up writing “Thu, 16 Mar 2023”. If anyone on the Fediverse has better suggestions regarding the topic, you’re welcome.

What’s right or wrong?

Sadly, it depends on where you’re from.

Strong opinions ahead.

I don’t intend to offend anyone, but if you think so, I’m sorry.


After a few days, I kind of regret writing this. Words are said, but, you know, I don’t want to take them back. If anyone actually read this, I’m sorry that you had to suffer my uninteresting and uninspiring opinions. Let’s talk about our hobbies, shall we?

Yes, ’n’ how many times can a man turn his head

Pretending he just doesn’t see?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind

The answer is blowin’ in the wind

— Bob Dylan, Blowin’ in the Wind (1962)

A while ago, I ran into a conversation on Mastodon. I couldn’t help but join in with an impluse. Someone was discussing TikTok. People are worried the app is invading their privacy because it might contain codes with telemetry or other methods of tracking that endanger their online safety. Some individuals even stated that they needed to build some kind of digital border to prevent apps from a specific country that may have attempted to track or spy on them.

I giggled.

I guess there’s nothing new under the sun. If you’re a westerner, it’s more than obvious that the Chinese government is spying on you. Hell, even if you’re Chinese, the same applies. You’re being naive if you think spying or tracking is limited to an app. You didn’t read the news about the spying balloon? What if it’s baked into the ISPs, networks, services, and devices you’re using if you live in China? It’s happening way beyond your reach. You see, it’s kind of a known fact.

Don’t tell me you’re using electronic devices from China. Oops, your phone is some brand from China: Oppo, Huawei, Xiaomi, OnePlus, or Meizu? You should probably throw them away and disintegrate them. Instead, you should choose wisely, switch to Apple or Google products, and use them exclusively. For your own safety, only use and install apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, etc. Because they’re big brands, even if they track you or perform mass surveillance, you are being spied on by a country that represents justice.

Big Tech companies are the world’s leading role models that are righteous. Everyone should obey, and play by their rules. You shall abide by whatever they say. It’s absolutely no problem at all to be monitored, tracked, studied, or spied on by those people. In fact, you should give in for the sake of world peace. Remember, it’s for the common good. Let them control the data about you, every action that you perform on your mobile device, and opt-in for their surveillance. Services other than these are considered evil.

And yes, this is an attempt at satire.

Do you care about privacy? Do you think privacy is a concept that only applies to people from the West? Then why do you fear an app originating from China is tracking you while feeling comfortable using Meta’s or Google’s products? Maybe it’s because you’re from the US, and those companies are run by your own people? Or maybe because westerners share similar values while the Asian doesn’t? To be specific, the Chinese are clearly the bad guys, on the other hand, Americans are the good guys. They don’t deserve privacy, use the power of Big Tech to spy on them.

Hypocrisy. Don’t pretend you don’t see what I see. Don’t tell anyone you respect other people’s privacy or that you are even advocating it. Please don’t say that if you think politics overrides rationality. You care for your country, your own people, and your people only. Please make sure you include that in the footnotes when you say you respect people’s privacy.

All I could do was laugh.

If you think TikTok is harmful, then don’t use it at all. In fact, I wonder why Google Play Store and Apple App Store didn’t just block the freaking app from being downloaded. It’s unnecessary to spread any kind of negativity towards the nation or even the people.

Oh, if you have the slightest intention to think I’m siding with China, then you’re mistaken. All I can tell you is that I’m from Hong Kong; it just so happens that I’m Chinese. I’ve never used TikTok—not a single piece of video content that I’ve seen—and don’t plan to.

Is that a situation of either black or white? Which side represents who’s right? For whom to decide? It looks like I’m on the wrong side, because of my origin. I shouldn’t have butted into the thread on Mastodon.

Tsk tsk. It’s a subject too deep for my brain anyway. Time is ticking. I once said 只談風花雪月 I want to stand by my words.