Reporters on the Job
• Shifting Perceptions in Beirut: Correspondent Nicholas Blanford was prompted to file today's story about the shooting of a young Shiite demonstrator because it epitomizes a trend in Lebanon.
What concerns Nick is that the facts of this incident, and others, are becoming less relevant to many Lebanese. "It's been sliding this way for some time. People see events only in light of what supports their religious identity or political affiliations. The truth, what investigators find about the case, is not relevant to them," he says.
And there's a revenge, rather than justice, mentality creeping in. "Most of the Shiites I spoke to are blaming certain factions within the Lebanese Army. But one guy, who was wounded in the shooting, just wants to know the family name of the solider who shot him. He says he'll track the family down and get revenge."
• Discipline on the Ivories: Staff writer Peter Ford's elder son, Robin, started learning to play the piano when he was a very small boy, partly because Peter's government-issue apartment in Moscow at the time came furnished with a Soviet-made upright. But his teacher took a very Russian approach to classes, teaching Robin to read music practically before he could read words and expecting him to practice as if he were Mozart, which left a rather sour taste in his mouth.
When the Ford family moved to Beijing 18 months ago, Peter says, "Robin flatly refused to have a Chinese teacher. He knew how much influence the old Soviet school still had on Chinese classical music." Instead, he found a French jazz pianist to learn from, and the pace is a bit more relaxed. When Peter interviewed China's piano sensation, Lang Lang, who will perform Sunday at the Grammy Award ceremony, he says that "even Lang Lang told me how happy he was to win a scholarship to music school in America. After the pressure his Chinese teachers had put on him, classes in the US were a cinch."
– David Clark Scott